SBD/November 4, 2013/Franchises

MLB Franchise Notes: Phillies Expected To Stay Below Luxury-Tax Threshold

Amaro says his payroll for '13 should have been sufficient to compete
In Philadelphia, Matt Gelb noted the Phillies are "unlikely to exceed" the $189M luxury-tax threshold, "although they have plenty of funds to support a payroll north of that figure.” Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said, "Obviously, we had a lot less people coming to the ballpark this year. We have to be cognizant of that. We have been greatly supported -- our payroll was, what, $165 million? That should be enough to put a contender on the field." Gelb noted the Phillies have "committed approximately" $118.5M in payroll to eight players. If everyone returns, that leaves about $38M in '14 salary to “procure a catcher, an outfielder, a starting pitcher, and bullpen help" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 11/3).

STATUS QUO: In Pittsburgh, Travis Sawchik wrote while MLB is "enjoying record revenues and Pirates owner Bob Nutting indicated he would like to increase" the team's payroll, "don't expect the club to become frequent purchasers of big-ticket free agents." Pirates GM Neal Huntington said that the team's plan "remains to find stars through the draft and development and attempting to sign core players to long-term deals." Huntington: "The core of our team needs to be homegrown. We can't build through free agency" (PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 11/3).

TOUGH SELL: In N.Y., Bill Madden wrote, "All things being relatively equal, the Mets, a team that has had five straight losing seasons, are one of the least desirable free-agent landing places." Madden: "This is not to say the Mets aren't going to sign free agents to fill their corner outfield, shortstop and middle-of-the-rotation needs. Just don't expect them to sign any of the most coveted free agents." Agent Scott Boras is "cornering the market this winter with the two most-desirable outfielders," Reds CF Shin-Soo Choo and Red Sox CF Jacoby Ellsbury (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 11/3).

LONE RANGER: In Dallas, Evan Grant noted Nolan Ryan's tenure as Rangers CEO "officially came to an end" on Thursday, and the team has "some of their remaining advertising inventory to thank Ryan for his service." Ads appeared in both the Dallas Morning News and the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram last week that read, "Thanks, Nolan." The club over the past week "has put the same wording on rotating billboards around town." Rangers Exec VP/Ballpark Operations Rob Matwick said that the ads were "an act of appreciation and thanks for all Ryan had done for the Rangers and baseball in Texas" (DALLASNEWS.com, 10/31).

BREWING SUPPORT: In Milwaukee, Tom Haudricourt noted Brewers Owner Mark Attanasio took out a full page in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel yesterday “to write a letter thanking fans for their support during a difficult 2013 season and pledge hard work in doing better in 2014.” Attanasio in the ad wrote, “I want to thank you for your unwavering support this year. In spite of the disappointing season, you once again demonstrated why you make up the most loyal fan base in all of baseball” (JSONLINE.com, 11/3).
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