Dr. James Andrews confirmed the initial diagnosis of a torn ulnar collateral ligament, so Braves right-hander Brandon Beachy will undergo season-ending Tommy John elbow surgery tomorrow.
Beachy went from undrafted free agent in 2008 to National League leader in ERA this season, posting a 2.00 mark with a 68/29 K/BB ratio in 81 innings. And he was excellent as a rookie last season too, starting 25 games with a 3.68 ERA and 169/46 K/BB ratio in 142 innings.
And now he’s facing 12-18 months on the sidelines, although at age 25 there’s plenty of time for Beachy to make his way back and reestablish himself as a top-of-the-rotation starter.
Jair Jurrjens is scheduled to rejoin the Braves’ rotation Friday against the Red Sox despite posting a 5.27 ERA in nine starts at Triple-A.
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.