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Phillies owner John Middleton made waves a few years back when he told everyone who would listen that the Phillies were going to spend a lot of money in free agency. You might even recall that the said they were going to be "stupid" about it. That offseason, they landed Bryce Harper, who helped lead the Phillies to the 2022 NL pennant and, well, it would appear that's only driving Middleton harder to spend now. 

"Nobody cares about whether I make money or not," Middleton told the Philadelphia Inquirer. "If my legacy is that I didn't lose any money owning a baseball team on an annual operating basis, that's a pretty sad legacy. It's about putting trophies in the cases." 

Can we please get 30 of this guy?

Riding that wave from the World Series, the Phillies' big splash this offseason was signing Trea Turner to an 11-year, $300 million deal, but they also added Taijuan Walker to the rotation and beefed up the bullpen with Craig Kimbrel, Matt Strahm and Gregory Soto (the latter via trade). 

Last year, after the owner lockout ended, the Phillies signed sluggers Kyle Schwarber and Nick Castellanos

The payroll for 2023 looks to be a touch over $260 million and it's tracking toward $220 million for 2024. They are well over the threshold in 2023 and it is $237 million next year. If they cross again next year, 2024 would be their third straight year over the line. That would result in a 50-percent tax. 

Middleton doesn't seem to care. Nor does he think anyone else should. 

"My goal," John Middleton said this week in a wide-ranging interview from his office overlooking the field at BayCare Ballpark, "is that we create a team that, 100 years from now, when people ask the question, 'What are the greatest teams in the history of baseball,' the Phillies are in the conversation."

"How much money did the '27 Yankees make? Or the '29 A's? Or the '75-76 Big Red Machine?" Middleton said. "Does anybody know? Does anybody care? Nobody knows or cares whether any of them made any money or not." 

"If your ambition is to be good, you don't make those decisions [to sign Trea Turner]. If your ambition is to be great, you make those decisions. It's about desire, really. I just want to win."

As for any concerns expressed regarding the length of deals (Turner's 11 years and Harper's 13-year deal), again, Middleton isn't too worried about that either. 

"But that's what the market requires," Middleton said. "People say, 'Why are you doing that? That's just stupid.' Well, I did it because that's what it took to sign the guy. If I had stopped it at seven or eight years, I wouldn't have signed them. So, that's your choice.

"And if you're overpaying 10 years from now for an athletes who got you a couple, three World Series titles, I mean, what do I care? Seriously. What do I care? And I can guarantee that none of our fans would care."

If the guy writing the checks doesn't care, I'm not sure why anyone else should.