Nationals infield prospect Anthony Rendon had to be carried off the field Saturday night during a game at High-A Lynchburg after falling awkwardly while trying to round third base in the fourth inning. But the diagnosis is in, and it’s not all that bad.
According to Mark Zuckerman of CSN Washington’s Nats Insider, Rendon has been diagnosed with a left ankle sprain. It’s of the severe variety, but the Nationals and their fans can take solace in the fact that there was no fracture andno structural damage.
Rendon, the sixth-overall pick in the 2011 MLB Amateur Draft, broke his right ankle while playing for Team USA in 2010 and barely played the field in his final season at Rice University due to a right shoulder strain. The Nationals will hope that his early-career proneness to injuries fades as he approaches the majors.
Rendon has a double, a triple and two walks through the first six plate appearances of his professional career. The 21-year-old batted .371 with 46 doubles, 52 homers and 194 RBI in 187 total games at Rice.
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.