3 Phillies at a critical juncture

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Phillies

Despite having more playing time at short, Crawford must improve his .214 September average. Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images.

While three Phillies must outperform each other for two jobs or more playing time, general manager Matt Klentak could still sign a top free agent from the 2018-2019 class even if the three excel this summer.

 

Make-or-break season:

For J.P. Crawford, Maikel Franco and Scott Kingery, ’18 will determine their status on the ’19 Philadelphia Phillies, who could add Manny Machado. And each player has a lot to gain or lose with their proficiency determining their fate.

IN OTHER WORDS:

“At each point in our lives, we are at a crossroads. We are the fruit of our past and we are the architects of our future. If you want to know your past, look at your present circumstances. If you want to know your future, look at what is in your mind.” – Matthieu Ricard

Regarding free agency for next winter, franchises are and will be facing limitations on their excessive spending, not just the luxury tax. And most organizations will only be able to sign one superstar for $300 million or more.

Even if some front offices get under the $197 million penalty threshold, one Machado acquisition will put them over by almost his entire AAV (average annual value). In other words, a second $30 million yearly will increase the overage to nearly $60 million and make it almost impossible to avoid annual penalties.

By comparison, the Phils and other big-market teams will have limited ability to carry more than two major financial outlays including their current stars down the road. So, the second mammoth contract could eventually go to Aaron Nola or Rhys Hoskins. Ergo, a consideration. But significant dollar commitments also determine the length of keeping a contending squad together.

Yes, the competitive balance threshold rises every couple campaigns, but it will only increase to $206 million for 2019. However, other clubs are not exempt from overspending either: They are small market, rebuilding basement dwellers, and the Chicago Cubs and the Houston Astros with their future bank-breakers.

One franchise player:

On Phillies sites, many Internet posters have complained about not inking a much-needed ace, and some fans reason the red pinstripes are cheap, stupid or incompetent. Well, the tax for exceeding the $197 million (current only) is 50 percent for the excess in the third consecutive year and every season thereafter: So, $60 million over equals a $30 million penalty.

According to MLB.com, additional fines include a surtax for excessive overspending and losing 10 places in the MLB Draft. Realistically, if even the flush-with-cash Yankees must curtail their expenditures, how can any organization do otherwise? Parity reigns supreme!

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