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How the Phillies can be smart spending stupid amounts of money

Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

The Thanksgiving turkeys aren't in the oven yet and we already possess the most evergreen quote of baseball's winter, courtesy of Philadelphia Phillies owner John Middleton. No matter what happens with the team over the next year -- good or bad -- these words will be revisited constantly.

Middleton said about his team's plans for the winter, "We're going into this expecting to spend money. And maybe even be a little bit stupid about it. ... We just prefer not to be completely stupid."

If the Phillies spend exorbitantly and those acquired players lead them into the postseason, Middleton's words will be remembered as prophetic. And if the Phillies' newcomers flounder and don't perform up to the level of the investment, Middleton's words will still be treated as prophetic, especially the "little bit stupid" part.

But Middleton has been around long enough to know all that, to know how it goes in Philadelphia, and he will plow ahead. The Phillies haven't made the playoffs since 2011 and the team has been going through an extended period of reduced spending and farm-system rebuilding -- a polite way to describe tanking. They're now a team with significant financial resources, ready to grow the payroll substantially. Jake Arrieta, signed to a three-year deal last spring, is the only major contractual commitment on the books.