The Philadelphia Phillies completed an 80-82 campaign close to two months ago. Holding the top spot in the NL East for longer than anyone expected, the Phillies collapsed down the stretch, finishing under .500 for the sixth consecutive season. The organization hasn’t made the postseason since 2011, when they bowed out unceremoniously in the first round, falling in five games to the St. Louis Cardinals. They’re a big market team who haven’t spent like they’re in a big market in quite some time. They have multiple needs all across the diamond. Calling them the next dynasty, especially in today’s baseball landscape, is borderline preposterous. However, with an intriguing farm system, several key young guns already at the major league level, and boatloads of cash to burn, the Phillies are set-up well to become a perennial contender–and perhaps even more than that.
Taking a look at the future payroll obligations of the team, you’ll see that the Phils have just over $52 million committed to the team after the 2020 season concludes. When you take way Carlos Santana and Jake Arrieta’s club options, that number decreases to roughly $15 million. That isn’t a coincidence; the front office has long been awaiting the upcoming three free agent classes that will include names like Manny Machado and Bryce Harper (2018), Nolan Arenado and Gerrit Cole (2019), and Mike Trout (2020). While acquiring just one of these names would be a pipe dream for most teams around the league, Jayson Stark of The Athletic points out that the Phillies signing two of these names–Harper and Trout, in particular–is far from crazy.
Owner John Middleton has gone on the record recently stating that the Phillies are going to go into the 2018 offseason, “expecting to spend money. And maybe even be a little stupid about it.” By inking a player of Harper’s caliber, the Phillies would indicate not only to their fanbase but the rest of the league that they’re not only ready to compete, but they’re here to stay. The popular saying goes something like “I’m here for a good time, not a long time.” With the money, prospects, and young talent the Phillies have at their disposal, they have the opportunity to be among baseball’s elites for a long time…if they want to be.
1. Philadelphia Phillies Multi-Year Payroll. (n.d.). Retrieved November 23, 2018, from https://www.spotrac.com/mlb/philadelphia-phillies/yearly/payroll/
2. Stark, J. (2018, November 23). Stark: Bryce Harper and Mike Trout together in Philly… Retrieved November 23, 2018, from https://theathletic.com/670243/2018/11/23/stark-bryce-harper-and-mike-trout-together-in-philly-someday-its-not-crazy/
3. Snyder, M. (2018, November 17). Phillies owner confirms they are ready to spend ‘and maybe even be a little bit stupid about it’. Retrieved November 23, 2018, from https://www.cbssports.com/mlb/news/phillies-owner-confirms-they-are-ready-to-spend-and-maybe-even-be-a-little-bit-stupid-about-it/