It's never too early to look forward. So even as you digest the end of this Phillies season, here is a look at where they are headed. By my calculations, the Phillies have a minimum of $135.35 million committed to 16 players, depending on how they decide to allocate the $11 million they received from Houston in the Roy Oswalt trade (they could use some of it to defray this year's bottom line).
We'll have more in tomorrow's paper, but here are some key points:
1) The Phils have five players who are headed toward free agency: Jayson Werth, Chad Durbin, Jamie Moyer, Mike Sweeney and Jose Contreras.
Factor into that group veteran lefty J.C. Romero, who has a $4.25 million option that seems unlikely to be exercised, and Greg Dobbs, who is arbitration eligible but will likely be non-tendered (Dobbs was twice designated for assignment and was left off the postseason roster).
2) Aside from Dobbs, the Phillies have two players who are arbitration eligible: Ben Francisco and Kyle Kendrick. Francisco is a virtual lock to return. Earlier in the season we did a rough calculation of what Francisco will be in line to receive through arbitration, and we projected it between $1.0 million and $1.5 million, though that is a rough estimate and we will take a closer look at it in the coming days.
Kendrick also is likely to be offered arbitration, unless the Phillies decide the $2 million or so that he could be in line to receive would be better spent elsewhere. Vance Worley has impressed the team with his performance and mound presence and could compete with Kendrick for the No. 5 starter job in spring training. But regardless of how they project their rotation for next season, Kendrick provides relatively cost-effective controllable pitching depth, which is a premium.
3) So if you factor in Kendrick and Ben Francisco and rookie outfielder Domonic Brown, and the Phillies can count on about $139 million committed to 19 players.
Beyond that, they will look to fill the following vacancies:
-Four relievers to replace the slots that were occupied by Durbin, Romero, Contreras and David Herndon.
-A back-up infielder to replace the slot that was occupied by Wilson Valdez.
-A right-handed outfielder to replace the slot occupied by Jayson Werth.
4) The most intriguing situation is the seemingly imminent departure of Werth, who should command a premium contract on the free agent market this offseason. Assuming Werth does not return, the Phillies could go a number of different directions to replace him. They could platoon Brown with Francisco, or another right-handed-hitting free agent. Or the platoon could end up coming in left field with Raul Ibanez, with Brown playing every day in right. Or they could decide that Brown still needs some more time at Triple-A, and plug either Francisco or a free agent into the starting line-up. We'll take a deeper look at this situation later.
Here is the 2011 payroll as it stands right now:
Figures in millions
Starting Pitchers (Four guaranteed at at least $43.0 million)
Roy Halladay - 20
Cole Hamels - 9.5
Roy Oswalt - 16.0 (-11.0 from Houston)
Joe Blanton - 8.5
Relievers (Three guaranteed at $18.75 million)
Brad Lidge - 11.5
Ryan Madson - 4.5
Danys Baez - 2.75
Regulars (Seven guaranteed at at least $70.5 million)
Jimmy Rollins - 8.5
Placido Polanco - 5.25 (Could increase by $.500 sign bonus payable b/w Jan. 2011 and Jan. 2012)
Chase Utley - 15
Ryan Howard - 20
Raul Ibanez - 11.5
Shane Victorino - 7.5
Carlos Ruiz - 2.75
Bench (Two guaranteed at $3.1 million)
Ross Gload - 1.6
Brian Schneider - 1.5
TOTAL GUARANTEED: 16 players, at least $135.35 million
Kyle Kendrick - 2.0 million (projected)
Ben Francisco - $1.3 million (projected)
Greg Dobbs - Non-tender (projected)
Under Club Control
-Four relievers (Durbin, Contreras, Romero, Herndon)
-Starting right fielder (Werth)
-Bench Hitter (Dobbs, Sweeney)
-Bench utility player (Wilson Valdez)