The fire of Johan Santana

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Ben Shpigel of the New York Times reports that Johan Santana wasn’t happy about coming out of last night’s game:

When Jerry Manuel came out to retrieve Johan Santana in the eighth
inning Tuesday night, Santana flashed him the baseball and repeated to
him, “I’m a man.” It’s a variation of what he wrote on the dry-erase
board in the Mets’ clubhouse before his amazing start against Florida
in Game No. 162 last season: “It’s time to be a MAN.”

Santana was equally unhappy with Manuel’s decisions earlier in the game:

His signature moment came in the sixth, when, after failing on his
first two bunt attempts, Santana was ordered to bunt again but defied
those orders. He saw a pitch he thought he could handle, and he socked
a game-tying double into the right-field corner.

Shpigel cites each instance as evidence of Santana’s leadership and
fire. And I think he’s probably right about that. I wonder, however, if
anyone would say the same thing if it were, say, Carlos Zambrano who
argued with his manager when being yanked after ignoring his signs
earlier. Would we be talking about his fire, or would we be talking
about his attitude problems?

Again, this isn’t intended to pick on Santana for his behavior or
absolve Zambrano for anything he’s done in the past. It’s just worth
realizing from time to time that there’s a fine line between passion to
win and an “incident,” and maybe it would be helpful to remember that
the next time someone goes a little crazy on the baseball field.

Report: Phillies close to signing Joaquin Benoit

ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 15:  Joaquin Benoit #53 of the Toronto Blue Jays pitches during the seventh inning of a game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim  at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 15, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images
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Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly reports that the Phillies are close to signing free agent reliever Joaquin Benoit. An announcement is expected before the winter meetings end on Thursday.

Benoit, 39, has quietly been among the better relievers in baseball over the past seven years. This past season with the Mariners and Blue Jays, the right-hander put up an aggregate 2.81 ERA with a 52/24 K/BB ratio in 48 innings. That included a 0.38 ERA in 23 2/3 innings after the Jays acquired him from the Mariners.

Benoit suffered a torn calf muscle during a benches-clearing brawl with the Yankees near the end of the regular season. He’s expected to be healthy for spring training.

The Phillies have now added three relievers this offseason with Benoit, Pat Neshek, and David Rollins.

Report: The new collective bargaining agreement reduces players’ meal money

ADVANCE FOR WEEKEND EDITIONS, JAN. 18-19 - This Jan. 15, 2014 photo showing new baseball union head Tony Clark during an interview at the organization's headquarters, in New York. Clark has big shoes to fill _ and not just as Michael Weiner's replacement as head of the baseball players' union. Moving from Arizona to New Jersey, the former big league All-Star also needed to find size 15 snowshoes.  (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
AP Photo/Richard Drew
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ESPN’s Pedro Gomez provides a previously unreported detail of the new collective bargaining agreement, agreed to by the owners and the players’ union last week. Players’ meal money for road games is being reduced from $105 to $30 per day. Teams are providing pre- and post-game meals in the visitors’ clubhouse to offset some of the decrease in meal money.

Gomez quotes an unnamed player who said, “I doubt many guys know about the money going down, nor would they have agreed to it.” All of the players Gomez contacted said they were unaware of and unhappy about the change.

Clubhouse attendants are certainly unhappy about this change, too. As Gomez notes, the attendants previously provided food for visiting teams which earned them tips from the players.

EDIT: It’s worth clarifying that chefs are required in clubhouses now as part of the new CBA, so it’s not a complete loss for the players.