No, that’s not some figure of speech. It’s a literal description:
There was a big pot of chicken soup in the dining area of the Cincinnati Reds’ clubhouse on Wednesday. Several players were in the trainer’s room getting intravenous fluids.
A day after a stomach virus went through the team, the Reds were starting to feel better.
The Reds were still missing shortstop Zack Cozart and had to change their pitching plans for the second game of a series against the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday. Mat Latos started in place of Mike Leake, who was weak after not eating for a day. Cozart was out for the second straight game.
On the bright side, after today, I bet the Reds are no longer 11th in the NL in runs.
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.