Scott Kazmir probably won’t get an offer from the Marlins

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Scott Kazmir, who sat out the rest of the season after being let go by the Angels in June, began his comeback in the Dominican Winter League with an ugly outing Wednesday. He gave up four runs while retiring just one batter for Escogido.

Kazmir made only one start (5 ER in 1 2/3 IP) for the Angels last season before being shuffled off to the disabled list and, later, to the waiver wire. He went 9-15 with a 5.94 ERA in 28 starts in 2010. His best slider is long gone, and his struggles at finding a consistent release point have left him with very little in the way of command. While he’s just turning 28 in January, he may be done as a major league pitcher.

The Phillies plan to spend money and “maybe even be a little bit stupid about it”

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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.

How novel.