Jake Peavy talked to Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune about the White Sox parting ways with manager Ozzie Guillen and replacing him with Robin Ventura, saying he thought the move was necessary because “things needed to change with the way we did things.”
Peavy prefaced his comments with “I’m not, in any way, bashing Ozzie” but then went on to say that the manager switch “needed to happen” and described his relationship with Guillen as a poor one: “Ozzie didn’t care for me at the end because I was shut down,. It didn’t end on good terms.”
Peavy also hinted at some past issues with pitching coach Don Cooper, but added: “Look at what Coop has done over the years. It takes time to know someone. I have no problems with [Cooper].”
Which is good, because while Guillen is gone Cooper remains the White Sox’s pitching coach under Ventura.
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.