There are few players I find more loathsome than Sidney Ponson. He’s really the worst of all worlds as a pitcher and a human being. If you’re going to be a drunk, at least be an amiable one. If you’re going to be a jackass, don’t be a drunk. No matter what you do, at least try to care about your job and your appearance and stuff. Ponson has failed on each of these metrics throughout his career, and it drives me nuts. I mean sure, not everyone can be an all-star, but at least everyone can have a little pride, ya know?
Which makes me happy to see Ponson getting the honor he deserves: the anti-Cy Young Award for the 2000s, as bestowed by ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick:
The people closest to Ponson have always characterized him as more of a wayward rogue than a bad person at heart. Because of his immense talent, he grew accustomed to finding a new opportunity around every corner.
“If teams keep calling my agent, then I have a chance,” Ponson said during the spring of 2007. “The day the phone calls stop, then I don’t have a chance anymore.”
Just a hunch, Sidney, but the phone has probably stopped ringing. In lieu of a Cy Young Award, you’ll have to settle for this.
I’m not buying the rogue business. Rogues tend to be annoying when around but they are usually spoken of warmly once they’re gone and no longer bothering people on a day-to-day basis. Rogues can be appreciated from a distance. Ponson has been hated everywhere he’s been, and I’ve never heard of anyone from his former teams telling roguish, Bill Brasky-style tales of his exploits. They’re just happy he’s gone.
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.