Every team in baseball is going to cut payroll, except maybe the Mets. The Phillies didn't promise a particular number, they promised to to be one of the league's biggest spenders, and they still will be. They also didn't know that COVID-19 was coming. As much as I don't buy ownership's poormouthing, it's not going to be an especially good look if Bryce is worried about the Phillies' failing to come up with an extra $20 million for a superstar player while they are laying off 20 scouts and 50 office workers. You can't treat like this like a normal off-season.
The Athletic story today basically said the Phillies blew their chance with JT when they said they wouldn't give him an extension until after the off-season, and that they needed their in-season # for him to be $10 million. That set up the arbitration battle and there was no middle ground after that. Klentak and Middleton botched it with all the other payroll choices that led to that one (plus their refusal to pay the tax).
If JT is right about his market in this environment the Phillies will either pay to play or they won't but I think the Phillies might actually have a better read right now.
I don't want a $200 million payroll, I want a good team. While I'd rather accomplish that more cheaply by ditching Cutch or Segura, it might not be possible. But there are also ways to improve that don't only involve JT or Didi or any $20 million player.
Not to mention that adding Didi, Girardi and Wheeler didn't ultimately improve the team compared to last year, and adding JT only led to a marginally better 2019 team compared to 2018. He's a great player, obviously you want him, and obviously Bryce wants him to say too, but Bryce also understands the baseball business. And that there are other ways to win. You can even win a World Series without Bryce Harper, it seems.
As for Boras, he'd be perfectly happy to see JT go elsewhere and then he could try and get the Phillies to give some of that money to one of his own guys. He'll also be happy if JT sets off a bidding war, which helps all agents.