I get a little annoyed when Yankees and Red Sox fans openly covet non-free agent players from other teams, acting as though it’s only a matter of time before they become the property of Boston or New York. Of course sometimes there’s good reason for such thinking. Here’s recently-fired Padres’ GM Kevin Towers on the latest object-of-desire, Adrian Gonzalez:
“They’re going to have a $40 million payroll for the foreseeable future, and there’s just no way they can devote half of that to one player.
It’s just a matter of when they decide to trade him.”
Towers, I presume, was party to enough substantive conversations before his dismissal that such comments are more than mere speculation. Adrian Gonzalez, by the way, is only making $4.75 million next year and $5.5 million in 2011. As such, he should bring the mother lode in any trade.
Given that the Padres’ new GM Jed Hoyer just left Boston, given he is intimately familiar with their system and given that the Red Sox desperately need a corner bat like Gonzalez’, one would think that the Red Sox would make the best trading partner. Only problem: The Red Sox don’t have much in the way of MLB-ready level talent to burn.
That may be fine for the Padres considering Hoyer is apparently being told to keep payroll way, way down, but trading their best player for a bunch of talent that doesn’t project until 2012 or later may cause what’s left of the team’s fan base to revolt.
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.