Phillies' 2019 payroll and how much they can realistically spend this offseason


You've been hearing for a while that the Phillies have plenty of money to spend this offseason on top stars if they so choose.

How much money do they have exactly?

Let's take a look at the 2019 payroll:

The guaranteed contracts

Jake Arrieta: $25M

Carlos Santana: $20.333M

Tommy Hunter: $9M

Pat Neshek: $7.75M

Odubel Herrera: $5.35M

Scott Kingery: $1.5M

This adds up to just a shade under $69 million.

First year of arbitration 

The following are arbitration-eligible for the first time this offseason:

Aaron Nola
Vince Velasquez
Hector Neris
Aaron Altherr
Jerad Eickhoff
Adam Morgan
Pedro Florimon

• Morgan and Florimon will be easy to move on from. Neither provides a valuable enough skill to pay $1 million or so for. They're players who can be replaced cheaply by a younger lefty reliever and utilityman.

• Nola made $573,000 in 2018. The record for a first-year arbitration salary was the $10.85 million paid to Kris Bryant this season. It broke the previous record of $10 million for Ryan Howard.

Both Bryant and Howard won Rookie of the Year and MVP in their first two full seasons. So as accomplished as Nola is at this point, he probably won't make more than they did. Still, it will be a substantial raise for the Phillies' ace, and depending on how this offseason goes, we could see the Phils give Nola an extension that buys out his first couple years of free agency. If the Phils and Nola go that route, it could cost something in the vicinity of $75 million.

• Neris will be back after regaining his confidence and posting an insanely high strikeout rate in the second half.

• Velasquez should be back, too, although it may not be as a starting pitcher.

• Altherr and Eickhoff both had lost seasons. Eickhoff was injured for the majority of 2018 before impressing in one start at the end of September, while Altherr struggled pretty much all year.

Both could be worth bringing back as insurance. Altherr has the skill set of a fourth outfielder and it could just be that 2018 was a down year. 

Second and third year of arbitration

The Phillies' only two Arb 2 players are Maikel Franco and Luis Garcia, both of whom could be gone this offseason. 

Does it make sense to pay Garcia $2-2.5 million after a disappointing season, or is he replaceable?

Franco's case is very interesting. It would make no sense for the Phillies to non-tender a 26-year-old coming off his best full season. Franco hit .270/.314/.467 with 22 homers a year after hitting .230/.281/.409 with 24 homers. 

Even if Franco is not in the Phillies' future plans, it would make more sense to agree to a one-year deal first and then trade him. Same goes for Cesar Hernandez, the Phillies' only player going into his third arbitration year.

Pre-arbitration players

The following players are not yet eligible for arbitration and should thus make between $500,000 and $600,000.

Rhys Hoskins
Zach Eflin
Seranthony Dominguez
Nick Pivetta
Roman Quinn
Jorge Alfaro
Nick Williams
J.P. Crawford
Victor Arano
Edubray Ramos
Andrew Knapp
Dylan Cozens
Yacksel Rios

The total payroll (free agency aside)

If the Phillies do keep Franco and Hernandez, they will be at about $102 million. This takes into account the guaranteed contracts, the arbitration-eligible players and the pre-arb guys.

If the Phils trade both Hernandez and Franco, that number should decrease to $88-90 million.

The Phillies' highest-ever opening day payroll was $178 million in 2014. They may not get all the way back there this offseason — Andy MacPhail did bring up next winter's free-agent class at his end-of-year press conference — but if they do get very aggressive, there's about $70 million or so they could add to next year's payroll.

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