At least he’s not thrilled with setting up for him for any longer than he has to. That’s based on this report that the Wagner-to-the-Sox deal is being held up by Wagner, who won’t waive his no-trade clause unless the Sox agree not to pick up his 2010 option because he doesn’t want to forego potential closing jobs this winter:
According to the report, the agent said the two sticking points
involved Wagner’s requests that the Red Sox not pick up his 2010 option
or offer him arbitration so that he can find another team where he
wouldn’t be a setup man for Jonathan Papelbon.
The option is for $8 million, which is pretty rich for a guy in Wagner’s position, so I’m having trouble seeing the Sox actually picking that up. I wonder if he’s simply not trying to renegotiate the terms of the 2010 buyout, which is now $1 million.
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.