It’s time for the Phillies to push past the luxury tax barrier


Hi, Phillies blogger/fan Alec Kostival here. I know this may seem a little informal than usual, but it felt like the best route in discussing the big bad luxury tax.

Let me throw some background information at you first. So far in the offseason, the Phillies have added about $38 million in taxable payroll. While the signings of Zack Wheeler ($23.6 mill AAV), Didi Gregorius ($14 mill), and Josh Harrison ( probably league minimum about 1/2 mill) have all been solid pickups, the Phillies cannot wrap up their offseason now.

After those signings, the Phillies are sitting around $205 million for payroll. The MLB luxury tax threshold is set at $208 million.

The Phillies have too many holes still for essentially $3 million to patch them all. On the roster, there is currently no backup 3rd baseman behind Scott Kingery, no changes to a bullpen that was mostly injured, and Nick Pivetta or Vince Velasquez as the 5th starter.

That simply won’t fly in a division where the Atlanta Braves, Washington Nationals, and New York Mets could all logically win the division.

So what will owner John Middleton do? Will he have GM Matt Klentak tape up the 26-man roster with nobodies or will he have to pony up and go over the tax cap?

Oh did I forget to mention? If the Phillies spend up to $20 million over the tax limit, they’d only pay 20% of that as Devan Fink of Fangraphs explains.

That would mean on $20 million worth of extra payroll the Phillies would pay an extra $4 million. That’s it. THAT’S THE PRICE OF A 5 STARTER OR OK BULLPEN PIECE.

There is absolutely no reason for John Middleton not to go over the tax. Just a reminder according to Forbes, Middleton’s net worth is $3.3 BILLION. $4 million should mean little to nothing to this man.

If the Phillies want to contend in 2020, it’s time to pass the tax. There is no reason WHAT SO EVER not to. The Phillies have about $51 million coming off the books in 2020 between 3 players. They’d be under the tax in just 1 year. No draft picks surrendered.

Do it, Middleton. Philadelphia needs playoffs.

Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports