Following the '06 season, the Cubs signed Alfonso Soriano to an eight-year, $136MM contract. Among the teams interested in Soriano at the time were the Phillies.
Paul Hagan of the Philadelphia Inquirer looks back at that off-season and suggests that the non-signing allowed the Phillies to build the team that ultimately won the World Series.
The rumor was that the Phillies might be willing to consider a deal in the $100 million range…While there's no way of knowing exactly how the script might have played out had Soriano chosen red pinstripes, one thing can be said with absolute certainty: The money that would have been funneled to him would not have been available to spend elsewhere…Since then, they've tied up Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Brett Myers and Cole Hamels with multiyear deals. They made midseason trades that added significant contracts for Cliff Lee, Joe Blanton and Kyle Lohse. They increased the payroll when they acquired Brad Lidge…They've signed free agents (Raul Ibanez, Pedro Feliz, Chan Ho Park) to plug holes. They've been able to keep virtually every potential free agent and arbitration-eligible player they've wanted to.
Hagan makes a strong case. However, it should be noted that the best offer the Phillies reportedly made to Soriano was for only $73MM.