The one bit of conventional wisdom that came out of Indianapolis is that the Astros made some really, really bad moves. Brandon Lyon for $15 million? Pedro Feliz? This is not the stuff a smart team does.
But they do have at least one defender. This unattributed post comes from the FOX Sports.com rumors blog that had recently started doling out attribution between Rosenthal, Morosi and Ringolsby depending upon whose story it was. No one is claiming this, however:
So, [the Astros] ended up with Lindstrom, Lyon and Feliz for almost the same
amount of money — in 2010, anyway — that it would have cost them to
Whether you’re a fan of those three players or
not, we can agree that Houston general manager Ed Wade has more talent
on his roster now than if Valverde had accepted the arbitration offer.
I guess that’s one way to put it. Another way to put it is that they’ve spent more than $10 million on parts that only begin to fill their many, many holes. That the players they spent more than $10 million on aren’t worth the money they’re making and that as currently constructed — and without much more available in the way of cash — the 2010 Astros stand to be substantially worse than the 2009 Astros. And that doesn’t even take into account the two additional years on the Lyon contract.
This spin reminds me of the sort of thing my dad says when he’s at Best Buy. He’ll covet a TV or something else he can’t afford, dismiss it, and then walk out of the store with three things that, together, cost as much. When you ask him why he bought that stuff, he’ll cite all the money he saved by not buying the TV.
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.