Updating Phillies' payroll — it's higher than you might think

Updating Phillies' payroll — it's higher than you might think

The Phillies opened last season with a payroll just under $96 million. Their average opening day payroll from 2016-18 was $95 million.

That figure has risen significantly with the acquisitions of Jean Segura and Juan Nicasio and the signings of Andrew McCutchen and David Robertson. 

Following the Robertson signing Thursday, the Phils' payroll is just over $142 million. This factors in projected 2019 salaries for their nine arbitration-eligible players, their pre-arbitration players and their players on the 40-man roster who will open the season in the minor leagues.

Player benefits, which also count toward the luxury tax, push that number to around $157 million. The luxury tax threshold is $206 million this upcoming season and it's calculated at the end of the season, not the beginning of it. Adding or subtracting money to the books throughout a season impacts that luxury tax figure.

The Phillies have never in their history exceeded the luxury tax threshold. A first-time offender is forced to pay a 20 percent tax on their overages. Exceed it two seasons in a row and the tax is 30 percent. Three or more consecutive seasons and it's 50 percent.

The luxury tax figure uses the annual average value of a player's contract. So, for example, Andrew McCutchen is making $10 million this season on a back-loaded deal, but his AAV is $16,666,666. That higher number is the one that counts toward the tax.

The Phillies can still fit another gigantic salary onto their books without having to worry too much about the luxury tax. If they're able to land Manny Machado or Bryce Harper for $35 million to $40 million per year, their payroll number would jump to the $195 million range.

In other words, there is still room to add a superstar and another useful player like a mid-rotation starting pitcher. Money could also be freed up if the Phillies move on from Maikel Franco, Cesar Hernandez or both. That duo is projected to make $14 million combined through arbitration this winter.

So again, including everything that counts toward the luxury tax, the Phillies are at around $157 million as of Jan. 4. It's the third-highest figure in the NL East, behind the Nationals ($192M) and Mets ($166M). The Braves are closer to $115 million.

Still a good amount of work for Matt Klentak and the Phillies' front office to do. They've improved the infield, outfield and bullpen this offseason, but those additions won't be as meaningful to many fans if the Phils fail to land Machado or Harper. 

They also need more starting pitching, even if it's just a No. 4 starter type for depth purposes. The Phillies could talk themselves into meaningful improvement from the young guys (Nick Pivetta, Zach Eflin, Vince Velasquez) and a bounce-back season from Jake Arrieta, but that's an everything-breaks-right scenario.

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What is a Philadelphia Phillie? Where did the name come from?

What is a Philadelphia Phillie? Where did the name come from?

Did you know that the Philadelphia Phillies are the longest, continuous, one name, one city franchise in all of sports? It's true.

But you're probably wondering what exactly a Phillie is anyway? And where did it come from?

You see, way back in 1883 when the Phillies were founded, it was common to call other teams by where they were from. Teams didn't have names or mascots as they do today.

Teams were referred to as "the Boston's" or "the New York's," etc. But "the Philadelphia's" didn't really roll off the tongue. Newspapers began shortening the name to "the Phillies" to save space in the headlines.

The Phillies name first appeared in the Inquirer in 1883. The team quickly adopted the new, shorter nickname and the rest is history.

You can watch a fun little video that's part of our "Ever Wonder?" series above.

What was it like facing Roy Halladay the night he was perfect? An opponent’s perspective

What was it like facing Roy Halladay the night he was perfect? An opponent’s perspective

This story, condensed from its original form, first appeared in February 2017. At the time, Chris Coghlan was in Phillies spring training camp as a non-roster player. He offered a glimpse at Roy Halladay’s May 2010 perfect game from an opponent’s perspective.

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Chris Coghlan still gets his Irish up when he thinks about the game.
It was May 29, 2010.
The night Roy Halladay pitched his perfect game against the Marlins in Miami.
Phillies fans remember it well. In the 11th start of his first season with the club, Halladay sliced through the Marlins' lineup on 115 pitches in 2 hours and 13 minutes. He struck out 11. It was thrilling.
But not for Coghlan.
He had a slightly different perspective. He was the Marlins' leadoff batter that night and in six pitches became Halladay's first strikeout victim.
The moment still burns.
"Big strike zone that night," Coghlan said, his eyes widening. "Go back and look at it. I was leading off, 3-2, ball off the plate, strike three. I still get chapped about it. Go look at it. It could have been totally different."

Editor's note: See for yourself. That called strike three comes at the 10-second mark of this clip. In the seventh inning, at the 3:25 mark, Coghlan clearly shows frustration after being rung up again by home plate umpire Mike DiMuro.

Coghlan was 24 and in his second season in the majors the night Halladay threw his perfect game in a 1-0 Phillies win. He had been the National League Rookie of the Year the previous season.

"Those teams were awesome," he said. "I loved hitting against them because it was the best of the best. You had Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels. You had Brad Lidge closing it out.
"Chooch Ruiz, Jayson Werth, Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard. Those guys were great and then Utley was my favorite player coming up. Second baseman. Left-handed hitter. Great swing. I loved his intensity.
"I loved playing against those guys. And we played them tough. That happens with a young team — you get up for the big boys but don't always carry that focus through to the other teams."

Coghlan and his Marlins teammates were totally up for Halladay on that memorable night of May 29, 2010. They were focused, ready for the big boys. But there was no beating the Phillies ace that night.
No runs. No hits. No errors.
It still burns Coghlan.

"Oh, everybody loves it except for the guys it's happening against," Coghlan said. "I had some buddies at the game and afterward they were like, 'Bro, that was awesome. I can't believe I saw that. I'm saving this ticket.' And I'm like, 'You're in the family room, bro, and you're ticking me off. We just got embarrassed. You can find your own ride home. I'm not giving you a ride.'"
Standing in the Phillies' clubhouse in Clearwater, Coghlan began to laugh as he talked about his buddies' reaction to witnessing Halladay's perfect game.
And then he completely softened and tipped his cap to Halladay.
"I joke about the zone that night," Coghlan said. "But I would never diminish anything that man did. To pitch a perfect game, everything has to go perfect and it did for him that night.
"I saw him throw his last pitch in Miami before he hung it up in 2013. He had that one inning. He came out throwing 80 miles an hour and it was sad. He was a legend."

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