Rob Huff at MLB Trade Rumors did a great job with his piece today in breaking down the Phillies projected 2019 payroll. In that piece he largely paints a picture that would seem to support my theory.
Early on in this piece, Huff describes well the hot seat that GM Matt Klentak finds himself sitting on right now:
“While Klentak appears to have strong support from ownership, the fourth year of a rebuild is traditionally moving time: if it’s going to work, the wins need to show up and in a big way.”
Huff then moves through a breakdown of the current roster and payroll situation, correctly (in my mind) reading the Hoskins, Carlos Santana, and Jake Arrieta issues.
On Maikel Franco, who some seem to think the Phillies are going to trade this off-season (a move I do not support), Huff again gets it right by stating that Franco “…may represent a tough non-tender decision in future years if he continues to struggle getting on base, but for now, he has age, power, and pedigree on his side, justifying his $5.1 million figure.”
Getting to the issue of the Phillies possible pursuit of Harper and Machado, we see that Huff agrees with me:
“…they’re definitely players for Harper and Machado, and from a purely financial perspective, it’s within the realm of possibility that they could be contenders to sign both young stars.”
Principal owner John Middleton is on record as being willing to spend significantly to improve the roster.
Huff wraps up his piece with a six-point list of circumstances which point to his conclusion that “…the Phillies are going to spend and spend big.”
Those six include the clubs need to add an impact bat or two at any position other than first base. They also include a history showing that the club has been willing and able to support payrolls nearly double the average spent over the last three seasons. Finally, there is a front office and ownership group willing and motivated to spend.
Huff projects the Phillies payroll to come in around the $160 million mark for the 2019 season. This would leave them with the possibility of spending an additional $50 million in staying under the Luxury Tax.
That is a significant figure by itself. However, should Klentak be able to dump Santana on some team willing to pay any of the $20 million owed him, that available figure would rise. It would rise again should the Phillies do as I suggest, and non-tender Hernandez.
Being able to move Santana and Hernandez off the payroll could free up another $15 million for new and future salaries. Huff makes the same case that I made, and that many others have made, that the Phillies have money to spend and the need and desire to spend it. And now, we all wait.