Mets imagine Sheets on their DL in 2010

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Thumbnail image for ben sheets.jpgThe New York Post is reporting that the Mets are “keeping an eye” on free agent pitcher Ben Sheets.

At first, I wasn’t sure what level of interest that implied, but it turns out the Mets are, indeed considering Sheets as a viable option for 2010.

A major-league source confirmed that Sheets, 31, would be among a group of second-tier, relatively low-cost starting pitchers the Mets will consider this offseason while continuing their pursuit of top free-agent starter John Lackey.

The story says the Mets are also considering Joel Pineiro, Jason Marquis and Randy Wolf, all safer, healthier, but less-sexy options.

On the positive side of things, Sheets didn’t give up a single run in 2009 (maybe that’s what the Mets noticed). On the negative side, he wasn’t able to pitch a single inning either after having surgery in February on a tendon in his forearm.

We all know about Ben Sheets (stats). When he’s healthy, he’s very good. But he is known for his struggles in that department. Since entering the league in 2001, he has thrown more than 200 innings four times, but not once since 2004.

Sheets, a four-time All-Star, looks like a good gamble on a short-term contract. But given the injury problems the Mets had in 2009, this seems like a matchup made for the doctor’s waiting room. Then again, I can’t blame the Mets too much for imagining what a nice addition Sheets would make to their disabled list next season. After all, an injured Sheets is still better than Oliver Perez.

Follow me on Twitter at @bharks. For more baseball news, go to NBCSports.com.

Report: Phillies close to signing Joaquin Benoit

ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 15:  Joaquin Benoit #53 of the Toronto Blue Jays pitches during the seventh inning of a game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim  at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 15, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
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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.

Report: The new collective bargaining agreement reduces players’ meal money

ADVANCE FOR WEEKEND EDITIONS, JAN. 18-19 - This Jan. 15, 2014 photo showing new baseball union head Tony Clark during an interview at the organization's headquarters, in New York. Clark has big shoes to fill _ and not just as Michael Weiner's replacement as head of the baseball players' union. Moving from Arizona to New Jersey, the former big league All-Star also needed to find size 15 snowshoes.  (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
AP Photo/Richard Drew
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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.