Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com dropped this tidbit into a lengthy article about Zack Greinke: “Kyle Lohse, sources say, is almost certain to sign with a team soon.”
Nothing beyond that in terms of where or for how much, but Lohse is the last of the unsigned free agents with draft pick compensation attached after Michael Bourn signed with the Indians and Rafael Soriano signed with the Nationals.
Lohse, like Bourn and Soriano, is represented by agent Scott Boras, who’s shown once again that remaining unsigned for a long time doesn’t mean there isn’t significant interest and, eventually, a significant contract to be had.
Yesterday general manager Mike Rizzo downplayed speculation that the Nationals could make a run at Lohse and the Cardinals have given zero indication that they’re interested in re-signing him.
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.