Philadelphia Phillies: Handing out Their Payroll Based on Success

Greg Pinto@@Greg_PintoCorrespondent IJanuary 4, 2012

Philadelphia Phillies: Handing out Their Payroll Based on Success

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    It's time for the obvious fact of the day: Baseball players make a lot of money.

    With the ratifying of MLB's new collective bargaining agreement, no player that will don a Major League uniform in 2012 will earn a salary of less than $480,000. Yes folks, that is the minimum salary for big league baseball players.

    That's just the beginning, however. The polar opposite of the minimum salary would be the deal that Albert Pujols signed just this winter, netting the new Los Angeles Angels' first baseman $250 million over a 10 year span, or the 10 year, $275 million deal that Alex Rodriguez signed with the New York Yankees.

    The point is this: Whether you're talking about a first-year player or one of the best athletes in the game, baseball players are well compensated.

    That makes managing the payroll all the more important, and the Philadelphia Phillies have one of the biggest budgets to manage in the game. Needless to say, there are a few great deals on that payroll and a couple of albatrosses.

    Managing a payroll is difficult. With the spending limit for most teams being the $178 million luxury tax threshold, teams have to make tough decisions, and the Phillies are no different. A lot of times, a number of variables come into play: The market for a player, his marketability, the depth of his position, his value to your team weighed against his value to other teams.

    We live in a day in age where teams rarely pay for past success, but instead, projections of what a player's statistics will look like moving forward, and that isn't necessarily a bad thing. But it makes us wonder: What would a player's salary look like in 2012 if we took into account, first and foremost, his success from the previous year?

    This slideshow will attempt to divvy up the Phillies' payroll, handing out the most money to its most successful players. A number of variables will be taken into consideration for each player, described on his respective slide.

    What would the Phillies' payroll look like if it were based on past success?

    For up to the minute Phillies' coverage, check out Greg's blog: The Phillies Phactor.

Keep in Mind...

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    Before we begin, it is important to remember that this is just a hypothetical take on each player's salary. What I'll be doing is taking into account each player's statistics and value to the Phillies (or his respective club) in 2011, and measuring that against what I believe would be a fair price for that production.

    The obvious explanation for this is as simple as: Players with better production, for example, Roy Halladay, will be paid the most, while players that made little or negative contributions, like Brian Schneider, will be paid the least.

    Normal variables associated with agreeing to deals with players were thrown right out the window for this slideshow, which is a more whimsical take on the value of players. If you're not afraid of spoilers, that includes the luxury tax, which this payroll will eclipse. 

    With that in mind, there are a few bolded phrases on each slide that should be kept in mind while reading. The first is "2012 Salary," which is obviously what the player will actually be paid in 2012, or in cases of players still waiting on deals, an estimation. The second is "What I'd Pay After 2011," which is the amount of money I would give each player for 2012, based of of the success of their 2011 season. 

    Some slides will have a few notes on them, indicating a unique situation. For example, players not eligible for arbitration will be paid the MLB minimum. When creating a budget, it would be silly to go over that. However, I also noted just how much I would pay them if they were coming to the Phillies as a free agent.

Brian Schneider

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    2012 Salary: $800,000

    What I'd Pay After 2011: $500,000

    First and foremost, allow me to start by mentioning that if I were calling the shots, I probably would not have re-signed Brian Schneider. Back-up catchers are a dime a dozen, and if you're going to spend money on a veteran backstop, make it count.

    What Schneider really had working for him heading into the winter was his familiarity with the Phillies' pitching staff, with numerous outlets citing his success with rookie starting pitcher Vance Worley. However, that success was drastically overstated, and the cons far outweigh the pros.

    Schneider was a black hole at the plate, posting an OPS of just .502, and his two home runs were his first two hits of the season. Should the Phillies need him to step in for an extended period of time, they may be in some serious trouble.

    That may or may not explain their interest in other veteran backstops, presumably on a minor league deal.

Wilson Valdez

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    2012 Salary: $900,000 (estimated)

    What I'd Pay After 2011: $900,000

    Wilson Valdez is headed to arbitration this winter, and numerous sources believe that he will earn a salary in the neighborhood of $900,000. That's a fair price for a utility player like Valdez, but I could make the case that he should have been non-tendered in favor of the more versatile Michael Martinez.

    But he wasn't.

    The Phillies tendered Valdez a contract (which will more than likely send Martinez to AAA) to be their utility man once again in 2012, and on more than one occasion, general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. has called him the team's MVP in 2010.

    That stems from his ability to play a number of roles, but Amaro found himself eating his own words in 2011 when Valdez struggled mightily at the plate. At the end of the day, the Phillies tendered him a contract because of his superior defense. Key additions to the bench should keep Valdez out of the batter's box as much as possible moving forward.

Domonic Brown

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    2012 Salary: $480,000

    What I'd Pay After 2011: $480,000

    The glory of having pre-arbitration players at your disposal is the simple fact that it is the best way to get above average production on the cheap. Though it is very likely that Domonic Brown begins the season in AAA, I am including him in this slide show because of the simple fact that, with Ryan Howard likely to start the season on the disabled list, it is not out of the question that Brown can make the team out of Spring Training with a strong showing.

    With that being said, however, Brown certainly did not look like he was ready to have a strong showing at the end of last season. With the addition of Hunter Pence, the Phillies sent him to AAA and had him learn how to play left field, but he struggled mightily defensively, and his offensive numbers took a dive as well.

    It is far too soon to right him off, however. Hopefully, after spending the off-season getting his mental state straightened out, Brown will come into camp ready to do battle for that left field job, giving the Phillies the option of playing John Mayberry Jr. primarily at first base and keeping Jim Thome on the bench.

    Note: Normally, I would take this space to say how much I would give a pre-arbitration player if he was heading to the Phillies as a free agent—a hypothetical situation. However, in Brown's case, he really wouldn't have much value heading into free agency after 2011. He'd get a Minor League deal, at best.

Mike Stutes

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    2012 Salary: $480,000

    What I'd Pay After 2011: $480, 000

    Mike Stutes may be the difference between the Phillies having a very good bullpen next season and one of the best bullpens in all of baseball.

    Talent wise, Stutes has the repertoire to be an above average reliever. He complements a very good fastball with a sharp slider, but his control has lessened the impact of that set of pitches. Of course, when a reliever starts walking batters, he'll find himself in trouble more often than not, and by the end of the season, Stutes wasn't pitching in many important innings.

    What I'd Pay in Free Agency: Less than $1 million.

    Let's face it: Middle relievers are a dime a dozen, and when all was said and done in 2011, Stutes had done very little to showcase his true potential.

Kyle Kendrick

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    2012 Salary: $3.2 million (estimated.) 

    What I'd Pay After 2011: $1 million

    There is something to be said about the importance of the role that Kyle Kendrick played for the Phillies in 2011, but it has been vastly overstated so far this season, in large part because of the misleading nature of some of baseball's traditional stats, such as ERA.

    Kendrick bounced back and forth between the starting rotation and the bullpen in 2011, logging 114.2 innings while posting a record of 8-6 with a 3.22 ERA.

    His actual production wasn't nearly that valuable. Kendrick registered just 1.92 strikeouts per walk, posted a FIP of 4.55, and was worth just 0.2 WAR. 

    At the end of the day, his versatility is somewhat valuable, but replaceable. As a pitcher who can average right around six innings and post an ERA right around 4.50, Kendrick is a valuable pitcher to most non-contending teams, but for the Phillies, it is money better spent elsewhere.

Jose Contreras

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    2012 Salary: $2.5 million

    What I'd Pay After 2011*: $3 million

    Jose Contreras is the first player on this list to get an asterisk for a number of reasons. First and foremost, he spent most of the 2011 season on the disabled list, so his numbers from the 2010 season are in play. Second, because we're paying for success, I would be willing to spend a bit more on Contreras, who has shown that he has been able to handle the later innings. Third, the only way I pay anything for him at all is if we know he is healthy.

    With that being said, however, if Contreras is healthy, is a valuable asset for the Phillies. After making the transition to the bullpen in 2009 with the Coloardo Rockies, the Phillies took a chance on him in 2010 and were rewarded. He logged 56.2 innings, posting an ERA of 3.34 and a FIP of 3.27, registering 3.56 strikeouts per walk.

    If the Phillies are able to use a healthy Contreras in the seventh inning next season, the bullpen is all the more dangerous.

Ty Wigginton

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    2012 Salary: $4 million ($2 million from Phillies, $2 million from Rockies.)

    What I'd Pay After 2011: $1.5 million

    Ty Wigginton is a very solid addition to the Phillies' bench, an addition made even better by the simple fact that the Rockies are paying half of his salary in 2012. The Phils spent most of the off-season rebuilding their bench, and Wigginton gives them a solid bat, particularly against left handed pitching.

    With that being said, it was wise for the Phillies to ask for cash from the Rockies in the trade and a shame that they couldn't receive more. While Wigginton is a valuable piece to the bench, he is just that—a reserve player.

    He posted an OPS of .731 with 15 home runs last season, but his inability to play average defense limits his availability in most games.

Laynce Nix

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    2012 Salary: $1.15 million

    What I'd Pay After 2011 : $2.5 million

    With the bench being one of the top priorities heading into the winter, the Phillies offered Laynce Nix his first Major League contract and he gladly accepted, becoming a part of the club for the next two seasons. Ruben Amaro Jr. and company did a very nice job of adding some left handed thump on the cheap, because when you look at success alone, I would argue that Nix is worth in one season what the Phillies are paying him over two.

    Nix posted an OPS of .781 against right handed pitching in 2011 as a member of the Washington Nationals, with all 16 of his home runs coming against righties. Defensively in left field, he is a major upgrade over free agent outfielder Raul Ibanez.

Joe Blanton

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    2012 Salary: $8.5 million

    What I'd Pay After 2011*: $4-5 million

    Joe Blanton will be the second player on this list to have asterisk attached to his name, as he missed most of the 2011 season with an arm injury. Though he returned to pitch out of the bullpen at the end of the season, questions surrounding Blanton's health will linger into 2012, as he once again projects to be the Phillies' fifth starter.

    What can be expected out of Blanton? Well, the simple answer is not much. Because he missed so much time in 2011, it would be impossible to look back on last season to gauge his value, but looking back to 2010 should give us a better idea.

    In 2010, Blanton posted a record of 9-6 with a 4.82 ERA. He registered 3.12 strikeouts per walk and posted a WHIP of 1.42. At the end of the day, he belongs at the back end of the rotation and can still be a valuable asset. With that being said, however, he is probably worth right around half of what the Phillies will pay him in 2012.

Antonio Bastardo

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    2012 Salary: $480,000

    What I'd Pay After 2011: $480,000

    Assuming that the month of September was more of a fluke than anything for Antonio Bastardo, the left handed reliever is one of the greatest values on the Phillies' roster. With a great fastball / slider repertoire, Bastardo is the rare "power lefty," and for most of the season, had left handed and right handed hitters alike baffled.

    Bastardo logged 58 innings in 2011, posting an ERA of 2.64, a WHIP of 0.93, and registering 2.69 strikeouts per walk.

    What I'd Pay in Free Agency: Depending on how much you value late inning relievers, Bastardo could be a valuable commodity. A power lefty with a solid repertoire, but control issues, like Bastardo would probably be worth a salary of right around $3-4 million.

Dontrelle Willis

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    2012 Salary: $850,000

    What I'd Pay After 2011: $1 million

    Despite throwing fewer innings in 2011, I think it's fair to say that Dontrelle Willis is a pitcher similar to Kyle Kendrick for a number of reasons, which makes it even more silly to offer Kendrick arbitration and pay him nearly triple what he's actually worth.

    But that is neither here nor there.

    The Phillies made Willis an offer to be their left handed specialist this season, and looking at some of his numbers against lefties, that was a wise decision. Though he posted an underwhelming record of 1-6 with an ERA of 5.00 overall, Willis was much better against lefties. In 17 innings, they hit just .123 against him, as he recorded 20 strikeouts and walked just two batters.

    For what the Phillies are paying him, that is excellent value, assuming that this trend continues into the 2012 season.

Jim Thome

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    2012 Salary: $1.25 million

    What I'd Pay After 2011: $3.5 million

    There seems to be two, opposing schools of thought regarding the Phillies' signing of Jim Thome. The first is that school who saw what Thome did as a pinch hitter with the Los Angeles Dodgers a few seasons ago (very little) and believe that there aren't enough at-bats to be had to keep him sharp. The second school of thought is that the Phillies are getting a bargain for one of baseball's best power hitters.

    I belong to the second school.

    At the very least, the Phillies are getting one of the best clubhouse guys in all of baseball, but what they can expect is a legitimate power threat off of their bench that can handle both right handed and left handed pitching.

    Splitting 2011 with the Minnesota Twins and Cleveland Indians, Thome posted an OPS of .838 and slugged 15 home runs. Will he be able to get enough at-bats to stay sharp? I believe so. Now that he has accepted his new role as the team's primary pinch hitter, he will have the entire off-season to prepare for life after his career as a designated hitter.

Ryan Howard

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    2012 Salary: $20 million

    What I'd Pay After 2011: $16 million

    Even that's an overpay.

    There are simply no two ways about it: Ryan Howard's contract is about to become the most burdensome contract in the history of this franchise, and that is saying a lot. Yes, the reasoning behind offering him a contract extension was sound. However, the deal was an overpay in terms of both money and years, and now, the Phillies are stuck with a declining first baseman.

    That isn't to say that Howard is a bad player, but you have to take him for what he's worth. A big bodied first baseman, players with his build have not aged well in the past. He is a below average defender and has one mind-set at the plate: Power.

    That's why Howard posted a WAR of just 1.6 in 2011 compared to first basemen in the mold of Albert Pujols (5.1 WAR) and Prince Fielder (5.5 WAR.) Though he hit 33 home runs, he struggled in other aspects of the game, especially versus left handed pitching, and became too one-dimensional.

    A lot of people have argued that several injuries to his feet have sapped his power, and even if that is the case, there is nothing the Phillies can do about it now. Instead of letting him test free agency where they would have been able to jump into the conversation for a first baseman, a huge question mark has to be hung over Howard's head, and his future.

Vance Worley

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    2012 Salary: $480,000

    What I'd Pay After 2011: $480,000

    The emergence of Vance Worley was a pleasant surprise for the Phillies last season, highlighted by the outstanding development of his two-seam fastball, which became a legitimate strikeout pitch and propelled Worley to a record of 11-3 with an ERA of 3.01.

    It would be foolish to expect Worley to be able to replicate his 2011 season, but we can't be sure what to expect out of him moving forward. Though there are obvious signs of regression, Worley also showed that he can be a Major League pitcher last season, and now that he is going into Spring Training knowing that he will be a starting pitcher, Worley's conditioning and mindset should be strong.

    What I'd Pay in Free Agency: Worley would be a valuable commodity if he was going into free agency after his 2011 season. I would not be surprised to see a team offer him a deal of more than $10 million, but obviously, that is without an established track record.

    Luckily for the Phillies, he's under team control and inexpensive for the foreseeable future.

John Mayberry Jr.

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    2012 Salary: $480,000

    What I'd Pay After 2011: $480,000

    Vance Worley wasn't the only pleasant surprise for the Phillies in 2011. The emergence of John Mayberry Jr. gave the team a legitimate reason to move on from left fielder Raul Ibanez and be excited about the future of left field.

    A better defender without question, Mayberry had stolen most of the playing time away from Ibanez last season by becoming the player the Phillies have always thought he could become at the plate. He posted an OPS of .854 and hit 15 home runs, and because he was a more well rounded player, posted a WAR of 2.5.

    Compared to Ryan Howard, Mayberry posted 0.9 more WAR in 48 fewer games for $19.52 million less.

    The addition of left handed hitters Laynce Nix and Jim Thome provide solid platoon options for Mayberry, who should see the bulk of the playing time regardless. He will have a chance to prove himself in left field, first and foremost, but also at first base while Howard recovers from injury.

    What I'd Pay in Free Agency: Mayberry would be a valuable player in free agency right now. He has a great blend of skills, including power, contact, speed, above average defense, and athleticism. Like Worley, I would not be surprised to see him sign a deal in the $8-10 million range per season, on the low end.

Placido Polanco

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    2012 Salary: $6.25 million

    What I'd Pay After 2011: $4-6 million

    Determining just how much Placido Polanco is worth is an interesting conversation. Just how valuable he is depends on how much you value defense. The Phillies' third baseman was, by far, the best defender on the club in 2011. For a team heavily invested in pitching, that is a very good thing.

    On the other hand, Polanco struggled mightily at the plate. Though his BABIP was .292, Polanco's struggles obviously ran much deeper than that. He hit just .277 and posted an OPS of .674. Most importantly, he struggled to stay healthy and has left the Phillies looking for an upgrade this off-season.

    For those reasons, I left a little wiggle room in the budget I would set for Polanco. If you're comfortable with the rest of your offense and believe that he can stay healthy, Polanco is a sound investment in the $6 million range. If you believe that his best offensive days are behind him and he is a fragile shell of his former self, you may want to pass.

Carlos Ruiz

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    2012 Salary: $3.7 million

    What I'd Pay After 2011: $10 million

    Though the game of baseball has come to appreciate his work a bit more in recent years, Phillies' catcher Carlos Ruiz is still probably one of the most underrated players in the game, and by far, is one of the greatest values on the club's roster.

    After spending a lot of time on the last slide talking about the value of defense, the first reason Ruiz is so valuable should be clear: There are few catchers in all of baseball that are better behind the plate than "Chooch." With a strong, accurate throwing arm, Ruiz is a rock behind the plate and handles one of the best pitching staffs in baseball with relative ease.

    At the plate, he provides some offensive consistency from a position that is normally oriented as "defense first." In 2011, he hit six home runs and posted an OPS of .754, showing an impressive eye at the plate by walking (48) as many times as he struck out (48.)

    Ruiz will get a raise in 2012, but for what he brings to the table, will continue to be one of the best deals on the Phillies' roster.

Jonathan Papelbon

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    2012 Salary: $11 million

    What I'd Pay After 2011: $13 million

    Though some were surprised that the Phillies chose to sign Jonathan Papelbon as a free agent over the winter, the organization has always been vocal about their preference for veteran relievers, especially in the closer's role where there is something to be said about a guy who has the mental edge and track record to pitch the ninth inning.

    Knowing his preferences, the season that Jonathan Papelbon had in 2011 as a member of the Boston Red Sox, in the American League East (widely regarded as the most difficult division to pitch in in all of baseball,) had to have general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. a little giddy about his potential in the National League.

    So the Phillies signed him to the second most lucrative deal in baseball history for a reliever, paying him $11 million in 2012 and $13 million over each of the last three years of the deal, followed by an easily attainable $13 million vesting option.

    Many believe this to be a drastic overpay, and while it may be, it is hard to argue the results from 2011. Papelbon logged 64.1 innings, converting 31 saves to the tune of a 2.94 ERA (1.53 FIP) and a 0.93 WHIP.

    After having pitched in one of the biggest media markets in baseball, the Phillies felt as though he was well suited to pitch in Philadelphia, and on the field, the results speak for themselves.

Jimmy Rollins

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    2012 Salary: $11 million

    What I'd Pay After 2011: $16 million

    Jimmy Rollins means more to the Phillies than any other team in baseball. After being drafted, developed, and succeeding with the Phillies, Rollins deserves to be a lifetime Phillie, and more likely than not, he will be. That isn't to say that the shortstop can't still contribute in the field, because he can, especially with his defense.

    Defensively, Rollins is still one of the best defensive shortstops in baseball. He has excellent range to either side of his body and one of the strongest, most accurate arms at the position. If he can stay healthy, defense is his greatest asset.

    He wasn't too shabby at the plate either in 2011. Rollins posted an OPS of .736, hit 16 home runs, and hit .268.

    Most importantly, he was able to stay healthy, playing in 142 games.

Chase Utley

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    2012 Salary: $15 million

    What I'd Pay After 2011: $17 million

    There is no denying that when Chase Utley is on the field, the Phillies are a better team, and though they have found ways to win without him during extended trips to the disabled list, the Phillies are a much more dynamic team with him at second base.

    Utley's 2011 numbers show obvious decline, which is almost to be expect after considering the condition of his knees. However, even with declining numbers, Utley remains one of the best second basemen in baseball.

    Defensively, few are better. Utley posted a UZR/150 of 14.5 in 2011, despite missing 59 games on the season.

    At the plate, Utley can hurt the opposition in a number of different ways, and he showed that in 2011. He hit 11 home runs and posted an OPS of .769, all the while posting a BABIP of just .269.

    The 2012 season should be an interesting one for the second baseman. First and foremost, he'll have to hope that his luck improves. Second, and most importantly, he'll need to be healthy to help the Phillies in 2012, something that he has not been in recent years.

Hunter Pence

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    2012 Salary: $11 million (estimated)

    What I'd Pay After 2011: $20 million

    If you're going to pay a guy $20 million a season, he had better be able to play all aspects of the game exceptionally well, and Hunter Pence, albeit a little odd, plays all aspects of the game exceptionally a well. This type of player should be able to hit for power and average, run, play defense, and throw, and Pence does it all. 

    In 54 games after the Phillies acquired him from the Houston Astros, Pence posted an OPS of .954, hit 11 home runs, posted an OBA of .405, and a wRC+ of 158. He played the largest role in making the Phillies one of the National League's best offenses following the All-Star Game.

    I'm not quite sure what made the difference, but Pence's UZR/150 was much better with the Phillies (8.6) than it was with the Astros (-10.0.) Regardless of that, he is widely regarded as one of the game's best defensive right fielders, with a cannon for an arm and a throwing motion that makes him look like he's going to fall apart.

    Note: The Phillies and Pence will go to arbitration this winter, unless they can agree to terms to avoid a hearing, so there is really no way that Pence can earn $20 million. However, if he were a free agent, it isn't out of the question to see him earn that much. Maybe not in the first year or two of his deal, but certainly for his prime free agent seasons.

Cole Hamels

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    2012 Salary: $14 million (estimated.)

    What I'd Pay After 2011: $20 million

    One of the biggest variables that teams seem to consider when pursuing starting pitching is the value of a left handed "ace." So when I sat down to project a salary for Cole Hamels, that was the toughest variable to exclude. (Remember, we're projecting salaries based off of success alone here.)

    It is certainly hard to argue that Hamels is one of the best left handed starters in the game, just hitting his prime. He posted a record of 14-9 last season with an ERA of 2.79 (3.05 FIP), 4.41 strikeouts per walk, a WHIP of just 0.99, and one of, if not the best, change-ups in all of baseball.

    Is he worth $20 million per season based off of those kind of numbers? I believe so.

    Note: Remember, like Hunter Pence, Hamels is still eligible for arbitration this off-season. Unless he can agree to a contract extension with the Phillies or simply avoid arbitration, he will earn somewhere in the neighborhood of $14 million in what could be his final season with the Phils.

Shane Victorino

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    2012 Salary: $9.5 million

    What I'd Pay After 2011: $24 million

    Shane Victorino is an immensely valuable player for a number of reasons, the first and most apparent being his defense. Widely regarded as one of the best defensive center fielders in all of baseball, Victorino posted a UZR/150 of 5.7 in 2011 and committed not a single error in 1,150.2 innings.

    Already one of the best defenders in the game, Victorino made strides at the plate in 2011 that have some ready to call him an elite center fielder. The switch-hitter posted an OPS of .847, hitting 17 home runs, posting a wOBA of .372, and a wRC+ of 135.

    Under contract for the next season alone, Victorino is still extremely valuable to the Phillies, but he is about to get expensive. It will be interesting to see what becomes of him in the future.

Cliff Lee

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    2012 Salary: $21.5 million

    What I'd Pay After 2011: $27 million

    I know. $27 million is a ton of money and probably not a wise investment (though, the Phillies will more than like be paying Cliff Lee more than that in 2016.) However, money is easy to give away when it's not real!

    On a serious note, Cliff Lee was every bit as good as advertised in 2011, posting a record of 17-8 with an ERA of 2.40. He logged 232.2 innings, recording 5.67 strikeouts per walk, and posting a WHIP of 1.03. Though his postseason start was a bitter end to an excellent season, Lee firmly cemented himself as arguably the best lefty in baseball, but certainly one of the best.

Roy Halladay

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    2012 Salary: $20 million

    What I'd Pay After 2011: $30+ million

    There aren't many players in the game that I would be comfortable paying $30 million or more, but if I had to pick one, especially a pitcher, it has to be Roy Halladay.

    Widely regarded as the best pitcher in baseball, Halladay certainly did not disappoint in 2011. He followed up his Cy Young campaign by posting a record of 19-6 with a 2.35 ERA. Though he has always said he would prefer hitters to put the ball in play, they couldn't even do that in 2011. Halladay recorded 6.29 strikeouts per walk, posting a WHIP of 1.04.

    Halladay's 8.2 WAR was the best mark in baseball for a pitcher, topping Justin Verlander, the American League's Cy Young and MVP Award winner, and Clayton Kershaw, who took home the NL Cy Young Award.

So What Would You Pay for Production?

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    Baseball is a complicated game, but the business of baseball is even more complicated. When teams get into bidding wars for top players, things can get ugly quickly. That's why we see so many of today's contract albatrosses—teams overpaying for production in lieu of watching their target sign with another team.

    Around the game of baseball, what would the various payrolls of each team look like if each player was paid based on success from the previous year? It's an interesting game of "what if" to play.

    Remember here that I'm not operating under a budget or anything along those lines, but if I were to pay each Phillies player based on what he was worth in value to the team during 2011, the Phillies would have a payroll of roughly $219 million.

    That's a lot of money, and would cost the Phillies even more to break the luxury tax threshold.

    So the million dollar question is this: What would you pay each Phillies' player based on success?