Pablo Sandoval strained his left hamstring while stretching for a throw at first base on Monday and the Giants have decided they won’t go short-handed on their roster any longer.
Per Amy Gutierrez of CSNBayArea.com, Sandoval was placed on the disabled list this afternoon while light-hitting infielder Emmanuel Burriss was designated for assignment and first baseman Aubrey Huff was activated from the disabled list. Marco Scutaro, who was acquired from the Rockies late last night, was also added to the active roster and is starting at third base this afternoon against the Dodgers. Scutaro hasn’t made an appearance at the hot corner since 2008 as a member of the Blue Jays, but he’ll be asked to play there every day for now.
The move with Sandoval is retroactive to July 25, so he’ll be eligible to return on August 9. Giants manager Bruce Bochy told Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com that they are hopeful he’ll be ready by then. It’s worth noting that August 9 is the last day of a road trip, so they could wait until they begin a six-game homestand on August 10.
Sandoval, 25, is batting .299/.352/.491 with eight home runs, 33 RBI and an .843 OPS in 62 games played this season. He missed five weeks after undergoing surgery in early May to remove a fractured hamate bone from his left hand.
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.