Let the waiver madness begin!
Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com reports that the Dodgers have placed Manny Ramirez on waivers. According to Morosi, teams have until Friday to place a claim. If he is claimed, the deadline for a deal would be next Tuesday.
Ramirez, who was activated from the disabled list Saturday, just became eligible to be placed on waivers on Monday. The 38-year-old slugger is 0-for-7 with three strikeouts in two games since returning to the lineup.
The White Sox reportedly plan to place a waiver claim on Ramirez, but he’s no lock to make it to them. Of course, any team that makes a claim absorbs the potential risk that the Dodgers could just dump Ramirez and the $4-plus million remaining on his contract. The Rays have also been mentioned as a potential landing spot.
Ramirez isn’t the same player he was even two years ago, and his failure to stay on the field this season has a lot to do with that, but he is still batting .306/.396/.497 with a 894 OPS over 193 at-bats this season. Numbers aside, the mere presence of his right-handed bat down the stretch could make a real difference for a contender.
In an age in which even baseball’s richest teams talk about tight budgets and keeping payroll low, it’s pretty rare to hear anyone connected with a front office talking about freely spending money. Phillies owner John Middleton, however, offered up something rare about the team’s approach to free agency.
“We’re going into this expecting to spend money, and maybe even be a little bit stupid about it,” he told Bob Nightengale or USA Today. He then added, “we just prefer not to be completely stupid.” That save aside, it was a pretty unusual sentiment these days.
“Stupid” could certainly mean Bryce Harper, who the Phillies have long been expected to pursue. It could even mean Harper and Manny Machado. Why not? At the moment the Phillies’ payroll for 2019 is looking to be just a shade above $100 million, so even adding, say, $70 million to that would not put them in an unreasonable position compared to other competitors. And that’s before you figure in any sort of back-loading or deferred money that Harper and/or Machado might agree to.
Or, even if they didn’t get one or both of those guys, they could spend that same kind of money on multiple free agents. Patrick Corbin? Marwin Gonzalez? A handful of others? We counted down the top 100 free agents last week and any number of them could be acquired given the sort of payroll flexibility a large market team like the Phillies appear to have. It merely requires the will to do it. A will which, it seems, John Middleton possesses.