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Looking at Phillies’ payroll with Nola signed and a lot of offseason left

Looking at Phillies' payroll with Nola signed and a lot of offseason left

Looking at Phillies’ payroll with Nola signed and a lot of offseason left originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

They haven’t been quite as free-wheeling as the Mets these last three years — nobody has — but the Phillies finished 2023 with one of the five highest payrolls in Major League Baseball and are poised to spend even more in 2024.

The Phillies’ final payroll last season, from a Competitive Balance Tax perspective, was approximately $265 million. The tax is calculated at season’s end and the Phils are expected to be penalized an estimate of $10 million. The threshold for 2023 was $233 million so they were about $32 million above, and as a second-time violator, their penalty is 30 percent of overages.

After 2022, the Phillies paid a 20 percent penalty when exceeding the tax for the first time. That was just under $2.9 million.

The threshold for 2024 is $237 million and the Phillies’ payroll, after the $172M re-signing of Aaron Nola, is already right up against it.

This, of course, should not serve as a major hindrance for the Phils because baseball’s luxury tax is not a salary cap. John Middleton and Phillies ownership has proven in recent seasons that it will spend with the team loaded with talent and contending for the World Series.

The penalties do rise every consecutive season you’re over the tax, however, and it adds up quickly. The $2.9 million penalty after 2022 was a mere drop in the bucket representing 1 percent of the Phillies’ payroll, but it grew by more than $7 million in 2023 and the penalty for a third-time violator is 50 percent of overages. The Dodgers, for example, tried to reset their luxury tax by falling below it in 2023.

There are also surcharges if you exceed the tax by more than $20 million, more than $40 million or more than $60 million. The 2023 Phillies will likely be hit with one of those surcharges.

The Phils have most of their roster already intact so another splash seems unlikely. Every starting position player is either already signed or under team control, approaching arbitration or set to go through it. Same with all five starting pitchers.

Barring a major trade this offseason, the Phils will return J.T. Realmuto, Bryce Harper, Bryson Stott, Trea Turner, Alec Bohm, Brandon Marsh, Nick Castellanos, Kyle Schwarber, Johan Rojas, Zack Wheeler, Nola, Ranger Suarez, Taijuan Walker, Cristopher Sanchez, Jose Alvarado, Seranthony Dominguez, Jeff Hoffman, Matt Strahm, Orion Kerkering, Gregory Soto, Edmundo Sosa,

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