Random stuff from the blockbuster press conference

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Josh Byrnes, Dave Dombrowski and Brian Cashman were just brought before us to “announce” the Granderson trade.  I think I could rip into about 2,000 words on the metaphysics of it all (i.e. has the trade really happened if no one has yet to announce it?) but I’ll save that for the bar and my annoyed drinking companions this evening.  The short version:

  • Byrnes, Dombrowski and Cashman were all introduced by their official titles. It’s different for each of them. Byrnes is an “executive vice president and general manager.” Cashman is a “senior vice president.”  Dombrowski is “CEO, President and general manager.”  I’m assuming those titles are, to some extent, negotiable and mildly meaningless.  If I ever become a GM I’m going to demand to be called “Vice President of Funk, Empress of India and General Manager.”

  • Asked about when and how the talks got started, Dombrowski said that it began back around Thanksgiving.

  • Why do the deal, Detroit?  Dombrowski: “We had some adjustments we needed to make . . . given our situation.”  Read: “we had to dump payroll because I was on crack when I gave Dontrelle Willis and Nate Robertson all that money a couple of years ago.”

  • Both Dombrowski and Cashman seemed to go out of their way to talk about how hard a bargain Byrnes was driving.  Me thinks the GMs doth protest too much. I mean, he was sitting right next to them, so I suppose it was natural that they wanted to make him feel better.

  • Dombrowski on Austin Jackson: “he’s about as sure a prospect as you can have.”  No pressure or anything, Austin.  And you may want to read this, Dave.

  • Cashman claimed that he was the last one into the deal and that he had “said no to so many deals involving Austin Jackson in the past.”  I don’t doubt that.

  • Cashman was asked if getting Granderson means that they’re going to cut bait on either Damon and/or Matsui. “Not necessarily,” Cashman said. “But it gives us comfort right now.”  I think he meant from a roster construction perspective, but I’m guessing he meant from a negotiating perspective.

Now on to the metaphysics of it all . . .

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.