Francisco Cordero’s nightmare season may be coming to an end courtesy of another nightmare.
According to MLB.com beat writer Brian McTaggart, the right-hander has been diagnosed with a sprained ligament in a toe on his right foot and will be in a protective walking boot for the foreseeable future.
Cordero has been on the disabled list since the first week of August, but his toe injury was originally described merely as inflammation. Further testing this week revealed it to be a much more serious issue.
The 37-year-old registered a 5.77 ERA and 1.81 WHIP across 34 1/3 innings with the Blue Jays before being traded to the Astros in late July. He then allowed 13 hits and 11 earned runs in five innings with Houston.
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.