Due to the vagaries of geography and time zones and stuff, we easterners don’t get to hear a lot about what happens in Seattle. Oh, we get the big stories: Ichiro is good, Steve Largent has sure hands, the Denny Party has found a new place to settle — but the little stuff often escapes our attention. Stuff like just how bad Carlos Silva is and just how much Mariners fans hate him.
How much do they hate him? The Mariners just traded for baseball’s problem child, and as of 3PM this afternoon, Seattle Times readers are 91%-9% in favor of the deal. Granted, this is not a scientific sampling, but if anything, the sorts of people who click on Internet polls should skew more in favor of the “Milton-Bradley-is-a-bum” talk radio crowd than it does towards people who analyze baseball objectively and thus might realize that Bradley has some basic value. Heck, I’d at least expect this to be a 60-40 thing.
At some point, some Cubs fans are going to try and talk themselves into believing that having Carlos Silva on the team is a good thing. Before they do, they might want to talk to some Mariners fans first, because they prefer Bradley at a ten-to-one clip.
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.