The Philadelphia Phillies quickly moved to prime payroll status after Citizens Bank Park opened in 2004.
When former general manager Ed Wade inked Jim Thome to a then-massive free agent deal in December 2002, the baseball world knew that times were changing. Since that point, the Phillies have been major players on the diamond scene.
As the team prepares for the 2013 season, it has committed $152.6 million to payroll. Other expenses, involving health benefits and payments to fifteen men who will be part of the 40-man roster but not part of the opening day 25-man roster and all bonuses, could total approximately $15 million. That pushes the projected payroll toward $168 million.
With baseball’s luxury tax threshold set at $178 million, it’s easy to see that current general manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. has somewhere in the south Philadelphia neighborhood of $10 million available for the challenges that lie ahead. Decisions, such as trades, can affect his rainy day fund. Next year, that threshold rises to $189 million, which will be very helpful to a team like the Phillies.
Barring any deals, a simple financial review reveals why Amaro can only add an inexpensive veteran (likely an outfielder, or a reliever) to his roster at this time.
There are three other interesting financial points to be made:
Even though the Phillies have an expensive payroll, the name Scott Boras‘ only appears aside of outfielder Domonic Brown’s entry on the ledger. “Dom” will earn less than $1 million this season.
Charlie Manuel’s deal expires after this season and Amaro’s at the conclusion of the 2015 season. If the Phillies stumble, Ryne Sandberg will be ready to take over as manager. If the Phillies don’t return to the postseason this fall, Amaro’s reign will become the full media focus by this time next year.