There are no actual named sources tied to this article, so I have to assume it’s wishful thinking more than anything else, but the Chicago Sun-Times’ Chris De Luca is chattering about a potential Milton Bradley for Pat Burrell trade:
Sources say the Cubs have been pushing the Tampa Bay Rays for a quick deal . . . The Rays emerged as potential trade partners because they are looking to shed their own deal gone bad. After losing out on Bradley last winter, the Rays signed outfielder Pat Burrell to a two-year, $16 million contract.
De Luca hooks this all on the Rays being interested in Bradley last offseason. Of course, last offseason Bradley was coming off a high-production yet quiet off-the-field year in Texas. Aside from the arguable matchup between the bad Burrell contract and the way worse Bradley contract, there’s no indication that the Rays are interested.
The Rays are run by some smart people, so I really can’t see them going for such a deal, even if the Cubs picked up the second year of Bradley’s deal, which they’d almost certainly have to in order to get past the laugh test.
But it’s fun to think about how the Cubs could rid themselves of Bradley. I’m dubious of the Rays taking Bradleu on, but I think this theory — a challenge trade of one bad contract for another — is the only way it’s going to happen.
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.