Tigers give Santiago a two-year extension

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As if losing Roy Halladay wasn’t bad enough, another potential 2010-11 free agent went off the board on Wednesday, as the Tigers signed shortstop Ramon Santiago to a two-year, $2.5 million deal.
The 30-year-old Santiago would have been eligible for major league free agency for the next time next winter.
Santiago hit .267/.318/.386 with a career-high seven homers and 35 RBI in 262 at-bats last season. The switch-hitter has had an interesting career. Once a much-hyped prospect at the beginning of the decade, he and Omar Infante were supposed to give the Tigers the double-play combination they had been looking for since the days of Alan Trammell and Lou Whitaker.
Santiago, though, hit .243/.306/.365 in 65 games as a 22-year-old rookie in 2002 and .225/.292/.284 in 141 games in 2003. The Tigers then sent him and a fellow young infielder named Juan Gonzalez to the Mariners for Carlos Guillen. It turned out to be one of the most lopsided deals of the decade, and that would have been the case even if Santiago hadn’t returned to the Tigers as a minor league free agent prior to the 2006 season and turned into a nifty little utilityman.
With light-hitting Adam Everett still manning shortstop and rookie Scott Sizemore taking over at second base, Santiago should again have a significant role next season. He’s not as rangy as he once was, but his glove remains adequate at both infield spots. $1.25 million per year was a fair price for his services.

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.