Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports that Jason Bay agreed to his deal with the Mets on Christmas day, four days before it was reported by Mike Francesa on his “Mike’d Up” radio show on WFAN.
The Mets signed Bay to a four-year, $66 million contract with a vesting
option for a fifth year which could bring the total to more than $80
million. According to Bradford, the financial figures are slightly more
than the Mets’ original offer for Bay, but the option year was in their
proposal from the beginning.
To recap, right after the winter meetings, it was reported that the Mets offered Bay a four-year contract in the vicinity of $65 million. Days later, Bradford reported that one major league team extended an offer to Bay exceeding four years,
prompting many to erroneously believe there was a “mystery team” in the
bidding. Knowing how the situation played out, we have at least some reason to
believe that the Mets were this “mystery team” all along.
In a related story, Bay will undergo a physical with the Mets on Monday before making the new contract official.
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.