The Phillies and the 2013 Luxury Tax - Roster Complete?

Now that their 25-man roster is largely complete with the acquisition of Delmon Young, here is a run-down of where the Phillies stand in relation to the luxury tax cap (or the Competitive Balance Tax, if you will) going into the 2013 offseason. Unless sky's the limit, that stance will dictate what kind of financial flexibility the club has during the upcoming season.

I've laid out how I arrived at an ultimate figure partly for the sake of making raw information itself available, partly so that any mistakes I've made, whether of omission or commission, might be evident to someone in the know. The following makes all sorts of assumptions about who will or won't be on the opening day roster, particularly with regard to the bullpen, which figures to be awfully crowded with candidates. I've assumed on the basis of the 2010 and 2011 opening day rosters that the team will probably carry 12 pitchers, 6 infielders, 2 catchers, and 5 outfielders, but 11 pitchers I suppose is a possibility.

Drawing on Cots, the table that follows shows the contract that each player operated under this season, the average annual salary for tax purposes, and any factors such as buyouts, options, and arbitrations that affect that figure. In the case of Ryan Howard, the figure takes into account the fact that Howard signed his extension with time still left on his original contract. His 5yr/$125M new contract then becomes 6yr/$143M for cap purposes, $18M being the average of the previous contract applied to 2011. Howard's new $125M includes a 2017 buyout, which Corey Seidman, in a piece that appeared last year, erroneously, I believe, subtracts from the $125M total, leading him to calculate a too-low $22,170,000 average. Salaries are obviously the biggest chunk of the dollar pie.

Player Contract 2013 Cap Ave Buyout/Op/Arb
Lee 5/120M 24,000,000 12,000,000yr6
Halladay 3/60M 20,000,000
Howard 5/125M incl buyout 23,833,333 10,000,000yr6
Utley 7/85M incl 2Mbonus 12,142,857
Hamels 6/144M incl 6Mbonus 24,000,000 6,000,000yr7
Papelbon 4/50M 12,500,000
Rollins 3/33M 9,500,000 5M PlayerOp
Ruiz 3/8.85M 4,500,000 (ClubOp) 5M - .5M Buyout
Young 5/80M (09-13) 6,000,000
Kendrick 2/7.5M 3,750,000
Nix 2/2.5M 1,250,000
Frandsen 850,000 Avoided Arb
Bastardo 0.505M (2012) 1,400,000 Avoided Arb
Mayberry 0.495M (2012) 520,000 (2yr)
Revere 0.495M (2012) 520,000
Stutes 0.485M (2012) 520,000 (2yr)
Galvis 0.48M (2012) 500,000 (1yr)
Brown 0.414M (2011) 520,000 (2yr)
Young 750,000 (1yr)
Durbin 1,100,000 (1yr) Unspecified TeamOp
Horst 500,000 (1yr)
Aumont 500,000 (1yr)
Kratz 500,000 (1yr)
Adams 6,000,000
Lannan 2,500,000

The total of the second column is $158,156,190. Other minor league arms could conceivably occupy the slots allotted to Horst, Stutes, etc. ; from a salary viewpoint, they are interchangeable parts. Bastardo and Frandsen avoided arbitration, and Schierholtz was nontendered. The AAA call-ups are all in the vicinity of the league minimum for 2013 ($490,000), plus a small raise for each prior year of major league service.

Additional expenses come from three other categories:

1. Minor leaguers on the 40-Man Roster: The minor league minimum for 2013 is $79,900 for players working on a second major league contract, $39,900 for those working under their first contract. Choosing $55,000 as an arbitrary figure adds $825,000 to the pot.

2. Club Player Benefit Cost: according to the new CBA, that is $10,799,690 per team.

3. Buyouts: Polanco's is $1,000,000. Wiggington and Contreras are each $500,000.

The total figure is $170,010,880. Call that a rough approximation. ("A million here, a million there, before you know it, you're talking big money," the late Senator Everett Dirksen was wont to say.) This figure reflects the acquisitions of Michael Young to fill the third base slot, Ben Revere to replace Nate Schierholtz, and Delmon Young to replace (hypothetically) Darin Ruf.

The 2013 luxury tax threshold is $178,000,000. So that leaves around 8 million for further inseason acquisitions, if you assume that the Phillies want to remain under--or at least close to--that threshold. Some portion of that money would ordinarily be put aside to pay performance incentives, fund call-ups, and replace injured players during the season. There has been speculation that the Phillies would be willing to blow past that limit because it rises to $189,000,000 in 2014, and if they violated the limit in just 2013, the penalty on excess dollars would be "only" 17.5%. But that's pure speculation.

Thanks to Cormican, topherstarr, and Last Train for help along the way and in revisions.

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