The Reds auction off Jeff Samardzija’s bloody ball

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This is kinda weird: on April 24, Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija cut his hand reaching for a comebacker. He stayed in the game, bloody hand and all, and his blood got all over some baseballs. One in particular was just auctioned off by the Reds. They got $130 for it.

But wait! There’s also a cheating angle to all of this! Samardzija speaks:

“There was one that had the most intense amount of blood on it for sure because it lasted about five or six pitches,” Samardzija said. “I had more opportunity to get a little bit more action on it. I think that was the one if they kept it. I don’t know how they got it, but it’s pretty crazy.”

Does the “more action” mean that he was inadvertently doctoring the ball? WAS HE THROWING A BLOOD BALL?! DOES DIRK HAYHURST KNOW ABOUT THIS?!

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.