The Phillies have spent a ton of money on salaries in the past few seasons, as they have signed top named pitchers, and rewarded long time players with long term deals such as Ryan Howard and Chase Utley, and now Jimmy Rollins. Howard got the lion's share with the $125M extension that was signed in April of 2010 on a West coast road trip. This last year it has been Cole Hamels to receive the biggest contract of his career $144M which is the second highest of any pitcher ever, besides the Yankees contract with CC Sabathia who signed in 2008 for $161M, 7 year deal which is now heading toward the back side of that deal.
All the euphoria of the World Series win of 2008 is about gone though, as the Phillies now start to realize that this win was an incredible 5 seasons ago counting the 2013 season. The thoughts of a repeat have changed to thoughts of whether the Phillies can just compete.
With all of this, the salary spending spree appears to be over, and that was spoken very loudly with Ruben Amaro's off season moves this year. No more blockbuster announcements and jaw dropping acquisitions from the Phils this off season and maybe for more years to come.
The Phils no doubt made salary moves with Shane Victorino, Hunter Pence, and Joe Blanton. Those moves alone saved the Phils close to $30M. Shedding Placido Polanco also put more salary to the cutting board, as the Phillies realize that to save money as a ballclub, they have to cut the biggest middle level salaries. To just dismiss players like John Mayberry Jr. and Domonic Brown may have been well warranted but these players aren't eating up a large part of the salary pie, and that has saved their careers so far in Philadelphia going into 2013.
Yes, the Phillies still have a big payroll starting off the 2013 season, if things don't improve with this team, we could see that drastically reduced by the All Star break in 2013 as well. The fans won't want to come to a stadium to see a team like this disintegrate. They will still be buying tickets, but like all great teams with fans that support them through the great times, you can rest assured that they will thin out very fast with losing seasons.
So let's look at what the Phillies have spent last year, and according to David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News, the Phils should come in under $160 this year in this article, which is still very high but heading downward.
Here's last year's list with some of the highest paid players highlighted that aren't on the team anymore: