Jon Heyman (and many others) are saying that the Red Sox are going to release John Smoltz today. Rosenthal has the Dodgers, Cardinals and Marlins as interested. No chance he’s going back to the Braves, says Mark Bowman, and he provides some statistical reasons to be wary of Smotlz, even as a reliever:
During the first 25 pitches of the eight starts Smoltz made for the Red Sox, he limited opponents to a .257 (9-for-35) batting average, a .395 on-base percentage and a .286 slugging percentage. From pitches 26-50, opponents produced a .327 batting average (17-for-52). And from pitches 51-75, they hit .388 (19-for-49) against him.
Yes, that profiles nicely for short relief, but as Bowman notes, the quick breakdown makes one wonder whether he could be used effectively as a short reliever. A short guy in the pen has to be able to warm up fast, warm up couple of times a game, and pitch a few times a week. If Smoltz gets gassed do quickly and so totally, I have a hard time seeing him be truly useful out of the pen.
As a Braves fan I love the guy, but as Neyer basically said the other day, if his name were Joe Schmo, no one would be talking about how he could help anybody.
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.
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.