John Middleton, the Phillies’ principal owner, freely admits that he has been conflicted over these last few years, that there has been a war raging between his heart and mind, between his desire to win right now and his recognition that the Phillies needed to rebuild their organization.

No major-league franchise has lost more games since 2012 than the Phillies, and for an owner who famously confessed to Ryan Howard, in the wake of the team’s 2009 World Series loss to the Yankees, that he wanted his bleeping trophy back, this last half-decade has been the greatest test of his resolve to chase a championship the right way.

Middleton wants to spend money. He doesn’t want the Phillies of 2018 to wear the same small-market, too-thrifty label that the franchise slapped on itself a generation ago. And these long, hard summers of late made it all the more satisfying to him to sign Carlos Santana: a player who, in both production and perception, signifies that it’s time to take the Phillies seriously again.

“Of course it’s a factor,” he said after Santana’s introductory news conference had ended, referring to the Phils’ failure to win more than 73 games in any of the last five seasons. “But you still have to have a plan, and you have to adhere to it. I think what you don’t have to do is make a knee-jerk reaction to losing and go out and do something stupid for the sake of doing something. That’s really a bad thing to do.”

That was a really encouraging thing for him to say. At least, it should be. From the moment Middleton took on a more visible and powerful role within the Phillies’ ownership group, it’s been fair to fear that, in his desperation to win, he would push the franchise to be reckless, to be as short-term in its thinking as it had been for too long under Ruben Amaro Jr.