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November 16, 2018

MLB free agency: Should the Phillies be ‘a little bit stupid’ with money in pursuit of stars?

Owner John Middleton didn't split hairs: He's ready to spend big bucks to bring in big names

Phillies Free Agency
Bryce Harper - USA TODAY 2 Jasen Vinlove/USA TODAY Sports

Washington Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper bats in the first inning against the Houston Astros during a spring training game at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches.

By now, the Phillies’ interest in signing one or both of Bryce Harper and Manny Machado is the world’s worst-kept secret.

It’s not even a secret anymore; the Phillies aren’t trying to hide their interest in the big-name free agents, and a story on Friday from USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reinforced this idea.

Phillies owner John Middleton, who has just under $69 million (nice) committed to next season’s salaries, told Nightengale he’s not afraid to “be a little bit stupid” about spending money in free agency. 

That's a really good quote.

“It’s exciting to contemplate what we may be able to do this off-season,’’ Middleton said. “We know the free agent class this year is really, really good.’’

At one point in the story, the idea of spending $700 million (!!!) was tossed around. Even later, Middleton said with no caveats that the team will “be spending.”

It sounds like Middleton stopped short of throwing handfuls of hundreds at pictures of Harper and Machado, but the message is clear: His wallet is extremely open.

Now, signing very good baseball players is clearly a good idea, and both Harper and Machado fit the mold. But is wild spending a good idea?

Unsurprisingly, fans brought some pretty hot takes.

Here’s just a sampling from across the spectrum:

From an entire day of watching the commentariat take a swing at Middleton’s comments, it seems like fans are split.

Some are giddy at the prospect of of the Phillies targeting the best available players and making a run next year. Some expect the money to be spent, and then for the move(s) to backfire spectacularly. And some seem hesitant to spend such mind-boggling money, regardless of which players are being acquired.

Only time will tell what actually happens, but it seems the Phillies are very comfortable with spending money to become a good baseball team once again.


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