Given that the Red Sox are reportedly making another pass at Jason Bay (or Matt Holliday) despite having the outfield seemingly covered with Ellsbury, Drew and Cameron, what does it tell you about their confidence that David Ortiz will be a productive part of the lineup next year? Last season when Big Papi took his giant swoon, they had no one else around, so they had to keep running him out there. Could having Bay or Holliday in the fold mean that they’d rather have one of them — or J.D. Drew — DHing? Whatever the case, I wouldn’t necessarily bet my pension on Ortiz returning to All-Star form, so maybe getting another bat makes sense.
Obligatory alternative theory for Red Sox fanboys: getting Holliday or Bay would free up Ellsbury to be dealt to San Diego as part of a package for Adrian Gonzalez. No, I do not think that will happen, but one of the first comments would likely suggest it, and I wanted to preempt it.
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.