UPDATED: Jan. 23, 2009, 4:14 p.m. to include new deals for Jayson Werth and Chad Durbin.
Doesn't it seem like just eight years ago that the Phillies had a $42 million payroll that ranked in the bottom 10 in the majors? Wait. . .it was eight years ago. But times have changed. Now, the Phillies could very well find themselves in the Top Five in all of baseball in payroll, according to our projections for 2009.
Based on our calculations, the Phillies payroll could range anywhere from $132 million to $137 million, largely depending on how much they wind up signing Ryan Howard for.
While everyone calculates payroll differently, for comparison's sake, we'll use USA Today's figure from last year, because the newspaper keeps a comprehensive database of all salaries.
Last year, the New York Mets had the second-largest payroll in the game at just under $138 million. The Red Sox had a payroll of $133 million. Now, both those numbers will likely rise. But the Phillies are now in the neighborhood that supposed big boys New York and Boston both inhabited just one year ago.
A few caveats. . .
1) Our projection includes a final installment of $3 million paid to Jim Thome as part of the trade that sent him to the White Sox. When comparing Opening Day payroll, most sources like the USA Today do not include such pay-outs.
2) High Cheese is assuming Adam Eaton is not on the Opening Day roster. Like caveat No. 1, many sources would not factor his salary into "Opening Day Payroll." So if you take Eaton and Thome away, the Phillies' payroll would likely max out somewhere around $125 million.
3) We did not factor in J.C. Romero's suspension, which I project will shave $1 million off their final payroll. Romero's suspension will cost him about $1.24 million in salary, and his replacement likely will only cost the Phillies somewhere around $200,000 (I'm assuming a young player like Kendrick or Andrew Carpenter takes that spot).
So, for accounting purposes, the payroll should be over $130 million. For technical purposes it will likely be under that.
Anyway, here is the forecast:
STARTING PITCHERS (FIVE ROSTER SPOTS, $28.8 MILLION)
Brett Myers, $12 million
Jamie Moyer, $6.5 million
Joe Blanton, $5.475 million
Cole Hamels, $4.35 million
J.A. Happ, $400,000 or Kyle Kendrick, $500,000
RELIEVERS (SEVEN ROSTER SPOTS, $26.285 MILLION)
Brad Lidge, $11.5 million
Ryan Madson, $4 million
J.C. Romero, $4 million
Chan Ho Park, $2.5 million
Scott Eyre, $2 million
Chad Durbin, $1.635
Clay Condrey $650,000
POSITION PLAYERS (EIGHT ROSTER SPOTS, $53.675 - $57.675 MILLION)
1B Ryan Howard, $14 million or $18 million
2B Chase Utley, $11 million
LF Raul Ibanez, $8.5 million (includes $2 million bonus)
SS Jimmy Rollins, $8.5 million (includes $1 million bonus)
3B Pedro Feliz, $5 million
OF Jayson Werth, $3.0 million
OF Shane Victorino, $3.125 million
C Carlos Ruiz, $550,000
RESERVES (FIVE SPOTS, $10.175 MILLION)
OF Geoff Jenkins, $6.75 million
3B Greg Dobbs, $1.15 million
OF Matt Stairs, $1 million
IF Eric Bruntlett, $800,000
C Chris Coste, $475,000
RHP Adam Eaton, $8.5 million
Jim Thome, $3 million
TOTAL ESTIMATED PAYROLL: $130.435 million*
*This number includes estimated raises for players and also factors in a $14 million salary for Ryan Howard.