Brewers sign Mark Reynolds

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Making official what was reported last night, the Brewers have signed Mark Reynolds to a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training. He’ll get $2 million in upfront money if he makes the team, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.

Reynolds still has tons of power, but even while smacking 21 homers in 135 games for the Yankees and Indians last season he posted a measly .699 OPS while hitting below .225 for the fourth consecutive season.

At age 30 he seemed destined to wind up with a part-time gig, but instead there’s a good chance he’ll begin the season as the Brewers’ starting first baseman. Reynolds made $6 million last season, so a minor-league deal is a helluva step down, but it’s a good opportunity to potentially resurrect his career.

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.