Carlos Santana is banged up after taking a pitch to the thumb last night, but his backup is in worse shape. Cleveland placed Lou Marson on the disabled list with a cervical neck strain that stems from a home plate collision with Desmond Jennings over the weekend.
To replace Marson the Indians called up Yan Gomes, the catcher/first baseman/outfielder who was acquired from the Blue Jays in the Mike Aviles deal this winter. Gomes struggled offensively in 43 games as a rookie last season, but he’s shown pretty good power in the minors.
Santana is out of the lineup tonight because of the thumb injury, so Gomes is starting behind the plate and batting ninth. And in a sign that Santana could miss more than a day or two, the Indians also called up catcher Omir Santos from 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.