Phillies eyeing Luxury Tax loophole for 2020

PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 29: Bryce Harper #3 of the Philadelphia Phillies in action against the Miami Marlins during a game at Citizens Bank Park on September 29, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 29: Bryce Harper #3 of the Philadelphia Phillies in action against the Miami Marlins during a game at Citizens Bank Park on September 29, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /
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This is one view from the dugout of Phillies manager Girardi you can expect to see. Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images. /

Crossroads:

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Decision time is here for the Phillies because even trading prospects for a setup man or a critical-inning fireman will exceed the $208 million AAV ceiling. But if they move Odubel Herrera, they would have payroll space for Hudson at $6 million AAV or Dellin Betances at $7 million AAV.

Phillies 2020 competitive-balance threshold of $208 million:

  • Estimates beginning at $205.35 million AAV
  • Herrera: -$6.1 million AAV via trade for $199.25 million AAV.
  • Bruce: -$12 million AAV via trade for $187.25 million AAV.
  • $208 million AAV minus $187.25 million AAV equals $20.75 million AAV.

For now, Jay Bruce is the left-handed bat off the bench, and Josh Harrison could be the right-side pinch hitter. Plus swapping Herrera and signing Betances would be a wash monetarily. Otherwise, they could keep Bruce plus ink a starter and a reliever after trading Herrera to go $10 million AAV over the CBT for a $2 million tax.

Bruce has value for a club that can absorb $12 million AAV but will only add $1.65 million for 2020’s payroll. Basically, Kentak doesn’t want to part with that bargain but might be open to pairing him with Herrera to acquire a starter. Or management may reconsider the $2 million tax in July instead of now.

First, do you stop after dealing Herrera and signing Betances or Hudson? Second, do you also move Bruce to ink a fifth starter? Lastly, do you surpass the CBT now or July? My choice: They’ll do the first option and wait until July to exceed the CBT, but I won’t gripe if I match a failing move. So, what would you do?

Joe Girardi's weighty seat at the Phillies table. dark. Next

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