Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez snapped an early 2-2 tie in Wednesday’s NLCS Game 5 with this monstrous solo shot off Cardinals starter Joe Kelly in the bottom of the third inning:
What can’t be seen in that video highlight is Gonzalez mocking Mickey Mouse ears on the top of his helmet after touching home plate — a jab at Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright, who took issue with some of the Dodgers’ antics in Game 3 of the NLCS on Monday night. Wainwright called it “Mickey Mouse stuff.”
Carl Crawford added a solo blast in the bottom of the fifth inning and the Dodgers lead 4-2.
The Cardinals are up 3-1 in the best-of-seven National League Championship Series.
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.