Tell John Middleton: Pay The Luxury Tax!!!

Tell John Middleton: Pay The Luxury Tax!!!

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Brian Kluger started this petition to John Middleton and

    On December 4th 2019, news broke that the Philadelphia Phillies had agreed to terms with Starting Pitcher Zack Wheeler on a 5 year contract worth $118 Million.  The initial excitement this caused among the Phillies Fan Base lasted less than 24 hours, as reports started to come out that this move was not to be the first of MANY needed moves this offseason, but likely to be the major addition to a roster that still has several holes.  The reason given for this from several beat writers who cover the team, was that the team was unwilling to go over the Luxury Tax threshold.  This is simply unacceptable to Phillies fans, and we hereby demand that Phillies Managing Partner John Middleton, and the rest of the Phillies ownership group, commit to a payroll that exceeds the tax, as it is essential to fielding a winning baseball team in 2020.

       2019 was supposed to be the year that the Phillies made it back to the post season, as they brought in stars like Bryce Harper, JT Realmuto, David Robertson, Andrew McCutchen, and Jean Segura to a roster that had some young talent, but was lacking in high end talent.  Unfortunately, their starting pitching, instead of taking a step forward, regressed significantly as nearly every starter performed worse than they had the year before, and this under performance, combined with injuries, exposed their lack of depth and was a major contributing factor to the failure of a season.  Following the season, the organization made several positive moves, bringing in a new Manager and coaching staff, and acknowledged that they were aware where they needed to add to their team.  It was widely agreed that the Phillies need to add at least 2 starting pitchers, a Shortstop or 3rd Basemen, as well as several bullpen arms.  And given that they would have only around $42 Million dollars to spend before going over the Luxury Tax threshold of $208 Million, it was seen as clear to anyone with basic understanding of the modern free agent market and access to a calculator, that they would need to exceed that in order to field a club that had the ability to compete.  

      Following the signing of Zack Wheeler, reports started to come out, that Team ownership had issued a directive to stay BELOW the tax, and therefore, this move would likely be the biggest move of the offseason, and takes them out of the running for stars Stephen Strasburg, Gerrit Cole, and Anthony Rendon.  At this point, the Phillies only have around $18 Million before exceeding the tax, while still needing a Shortstop, another Starting Pitcher and several Bullpen arms.  There is simply not enough money to adequately address these areas without paying the tax, and given that the Phillies have had low payrolls for many many years while they were rebuilding, ownerships unwillingness to pay the tax is an INSULT and a slap in the face to Phillies fans everywhere.    This petition is urging Mr. Middleton and  the Phillies Ownership Group to agree to put their money where their mouth is, and give the team the financial resources necessary to compete in 2020.  

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