All quiet on the Holliday front

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While Jason Bay and many of the second-tier free agents are getting serious play, things have been pretty quiet on the subject of this winter’s No. 1 free agent, Matt Holliday, during the first two days of the winter meetings.
The Cardinals haven’t given up on re-signing Holliday yet, but the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported this morning that the parties were described as being “on different sides of a gulch” to “in a different universe” when it came to negotiations.
The Red Sox are known to have talked extensively with agent Scott Boras, and it’s safe to assume that Holliday’s name came up several times. However, the team is continuing to negotiate with Jason Bay as well. It’s possible that GM Theo Epstein won’t make a real run at Holliday until he knows what Bay is doing.
There’s nothing to indicate anyone besides maybe the Cardinals have made Holliday an offer. The Mets will most likely be interested at the right price and it’d be foolish to rule out the Yankees until the day that Holliday puts pen to paper, but there are no other obvious potential suitors at the moment. The Mariners and Giants prefer to spend elsewhere, and the Angels have repeatedly said they’re not interested. All signs point to Holliday remaining unsigned through Christmas and likely into next year.

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)
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.