Dodgers starters had a 5.30 ERA over
eight starts during the playoffs, and were ousted from the NLCS after a
miserable performance by late-season acquisition Vicente Padilla in
Game 5. Relying on pitchers like Padilla and a rusty Hiroki Kuroda only
underscored their need for a legitimate ace pitcher this winter. But
just because general manager Ned Colletti is aware of it, don’t expect it to happen.
“There’s not a long list of guys where you would say, this guy would
make a dramatic difference,” Colletti said of the upcoming crop of
free-agent starters. “It’s a thin market. There are pitchers who would
make us better. But tremendously better?
“Every club needs an ace and we’re not unlike any club. We
might have one or two in the making [referring to Clayton Kershaw and
Chad Billingsley]. But the likelihood of an ace becoming available by
trade is very slim. And this [free-agent] class doesn’t have that type
of allure to it.”
Pssst, Ned, let me introduce you to
this guy named Roy Halladay. I know he’s from Canada and all, but he
did start the All-Star game for the American League this year. Rest
assured, Colletti is using his best poker face here, as he should at
this juncture, but he has all the necessary pieces to get a deal done
tomorrow. Whether he has the sense of urgency remains to be seen.
Consecutive losses in the NLCS should be enough.
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.