The Phillies Backed Off From Ambitious Plans


The Phillies were supposed to be on the big names this offseason.  Instead, the Phillies added a 36 year-old journeyman who experienced a one-year rebirth, re-signed some of their own players, and will count on someone for their rotation whose name we are still unsure of.  It is hard to definitively say that the Phillies are going to be better in 2014 than they were in 2013.  This wasn't the plan all along, was it?

The offseason started off with the Phillies rumored to be among teams looking to snatch big name outfielders.  CBS Sports' Jon Heyman chimed in Halloween, just after the World Series ended that the Phillies would be in on big names:

The Phillies are targeting big-time free-agent outfielders and baseball people expect them to be in the mix for Jacoby Ellsbury, Shin-Soo Choo, Nelson Cruz, and possibly Curtis Granderson..

Carlos Beltran is yet another outfielder who could interest the Phillies.

But, Phillies fans feel tricked rather than treated to talent.

So what happened between then and now?   The Phillies were simply unprepared for the salaries the players got, after the market adjusted to new revenues.   For all the talk about the "big television contract" the Phillies are supposedly prepared to sign soon, other teams have television contracts of their own, signed and sealed already, with the cash in their pockets.   When baseball revenues increase, baseball player salaries increase.  But, the Phillies' revenues are decreasing.

Attendance is down.  Phillies fans do not seem as willing to spend good money for a product that is mediocre.    The Phillies have responded to that by changing from a team willing to spend up until the luxury tax threshold, to a team that is looking to stay far below it.  With a luxury tax threshold of $189 million in 2014, the Phillies will reportedly spend about $165 million.  

Despite Roy Halladay and his $20 million salary coming off of the books, the Phillies are bargin bin shopping instead of signing or trading for the next Roy Halladay.   Phillies fans are responding by buying even fewer tickets.   Instead of investing a better product, the Phillies are sort of dumbing down to the level of revenue.

The Phillies could strike gold.   A productive season from Ryan Howard and Chase Utley continuing his 2013 form along with typical Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels seasons could end up putting the Phillies where they were and overcome some of their holes.  But, things could easily go the other way.  One thing is clear: the Phillies decided to not be one of the big boys anymore.

Go to top button