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November 13, 2023

A look at the Phillies’ payroll heading into 2024

The Phillies will probably pay the luxury tax for the third straight year. What will the payroll look like in 2024?

Say what you want about the Phillies' management — but the duo of John Middleton and Dave Dombrowski has not been shy to spend, and the results have been obvious. Two deep playoff runs and a top five payroll in 2023 are evidence that paying for talent has been working in Philadelphia. 

The spending spree doesn't seem like it'll be ending any time soon, as the Phillies are expected to break the bank on at least two big ticket items — definitely a starter (Aaron Nola or someone else), and potentially a closer or an outfielder — prior to the 2024 MLB season.

They paid the luxury tax for the second time in a row (and in team history) in 2023, and while they have a little wiggle room beneath it currently, it seems pretty likely they'll be charged as highly as 50 cents on the dollar for whatever they spend that exceeds the $237 million threshold next season as third time violators.

There are 10 players currently under contract, not including players who will face arbitration or players who are under team control and on rookie deals. Those 10 will earn approximately $176 million next season, and bring the club 74% of the way to the tax number.

Bryce Harper$27.5m
Trea Turner$27.3m
J.T. Realmuto$23.9m
Zack Wheeler$23.5m
Nick Castellanos$20m
Kyle Schwarber $10m
Taijuan Walker$18m
Jose Alvarado$9m
Matt Strahm$7.5m
Seranthony Dominguez$4.3m

In addition, 16 players are eligible for arbitration this fall, and using's estimates it will cost Philly another $23m, inching their payroll up to $196m. Of note are Ranger Suarez (estimated to earn $5.8 million), Alec Bohm ($4.6m), Gregory Soto ($4m), and Jeff Hoffman ($3m). All four of those players are candidates for contract extensions to avoid arbitration this offseason.

After factoring in the pre-arbitration players — of which there are a bunch slated to earn the league minimum next season, Bryson Stott, Johan Rojas, Cris Sanchez and others among them — and around $17 million in mandatory benefits for players, the Phillies have around $224 million in estimated salary obligations for next season. Meaning they have around $13 million to spend before they're taxed.

Nola, or Blake Snell, or Jordan Montgomery or any top line starter is going to add at least $20 million, and a closer could add another $10 million or so as well. 

The Phillies are already one of the three most expensive teams in baseball and that's before any offseason wheeling and dealing happens. Fans should probably take a moment to appreciate Middleton and company's eagerness to spend to win. Teams like the Padres, with a ton of talent on the roster and recent title ambitions are looking to slash payroll to get under the tax. We're not there yet in Philly — with the team fresh off back-to-back close calls with the World Series.

It seems like money continues to be no object in Philadelphia. We'll see what that winds up costing the ownership group when the team reports to clearwater in four months.

Follow Evan on Twitter:@evan_macy

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