Phillies: Promises made to Joe Girardi for 2020

The Phillies will count on Girardi to pilot them. Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images.
The Phillies will count on Girardi to pilot them. Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images. /
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How far will Middleton go to win the NL East? Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images. /

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With eight starters available, the Phillies decision-makers will ink one or two, and Middleton probably felt comfortable assuring Girardi they’d come through. But keep in mind, the competition’s organizational AAV amounts are now changing due to non-tenders and declined options: club, mutual, and player.

Yes, the red pinstripes have a narrow path to acquire either Cole or Strasburg, but Middleton has experience with Harper and Arrieta of waiting Boras out. Plus Strasburg may want to complete an agreement by January’s end and report to camp with pitchers and catchers.

With Cole and Strasburg on the free-agent market, the Phils have two chances of getting one or the other. But inking Strasburg could allow them to pick up two relievers instead of one.

Regarding the competition, some GMs will offer $120 million for three years or be willing to overpay in dollars and/or length. Yes, the New York Yankees will be in on many of these hurlers, but they don’t want to exceed the Luxury Tax threshold of $208 million. So they’ll probably target the ones in the middle to fill one spot.

What do president Andrew Friedman of the Los Angeles Dodgers, president Farhan Zaidi of the San Francisco Giants, and new vice president Chaim Bloom of the Boston Red Sox have in common? All three were successful execs with the Tampa Bay Rays on a $65-75 million annual budget.

To sum up, Middleton and Girardi want to win now, not 2021. Plus there are plenty of available free-agent starters, and Klentak will have a maximum of $63.1 million in his make or-break campaign to hit the $208 million mark. But would Middleton sign off on $213 million plus a $1 million tax for a solid shot at glory? Possibly!