Yasmani Grandal goes yard twice in historic performance

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Anthony Rizzo isn’t the only youngster doing it big.

Padres catcher Yasmani Grandal, making his first career major league start, slugged a solo home run from the right side of the plate in the fourth inning of Saturday’s 8-4 defeat of the Rockies. He then hit a two-run shot from the left side of the dish in the sixth.

According to the Associated Press, via NBC Sports, it was the first time in major league history that a player had homered from each side of the plate for the first two hits of his career. “I can’t describe how remarkable this is,” Grandal said later. “Just getting the call-up was surreal. To get called up and hit two home runs for my first two hits, it’s just incredible.”

The 23-year-old Cuban switch-hitter was acquired this past winter from the Reds in the Mat Latos trade. He’s expected to see regular action behind the plate in the wake of Nick Hundley’s demotion.

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.