While Priority #1 may be to sign OGP to a multi-year contract, the Phils need to get their financial house in order before they should think about further signings. Specifically they need to drop some salaries. Let’s take a look at one theoretical situation where the Phils could clear some money.
- 1) Decline the option on Brad Lidge. This is a pretty obvious one and they shouldn’t waste any time. It will cost them $1.5million to say goodbye to Lidge but there is no way they can pay this guy $12.5million. That is a net of $11 million compared to last season’s payroll.
- 2) Decline the option on Roy Oswalt. I would loveto have the “Big 4” together for another season but I think not letting Hamels hit the free agent market is more important and to sign him, they’ll need Oswalt’s money. It will cost $2 million to buyout the contract. That saves $14 million compared to 2011.
By declining these options, the Phillies theoretically have$25 million that was spent in 2011 to reinvest into 2012. Raul Ibanez and his$11.5 million are off the books in 2012 as is Ryan Madson and his $4.5 million. Gload and Schneider go and take about $3 million with them, which brings the shopping money to $44 million.
However, the following players are due for pay raises – Lee($10.5 mil), Polanco ($1 mil), Ruiz ($1 mil) and Victorino ($2 mil). Kendrick goesto arbitration and will likely get a small raise. Hunter Pence goes to arbitration and will get a big raise, same for Cole Hamels if it gets that far. Ben Francisco is also arbitration eligible but may not even be offered so we’ll just ignore him for now.
So, if Oswalt and Lidge go, and the Phils let all eligible players go to arbitration, I estimate that the team will have about $20 million to spend on their needs (bullpen, LF, bench, etc.).
If the Phils could sign Hamels to an extension and pay him $16-18 million next season (a $7-9 million raise over 2011), they would still have $10-15 million to get a closer, a reliever and some bench players without significantly increasing salary over last year.
Now, if they could get somebody to take Joe Blanton and his$8.5, they’d really be in business…