MLB.com has a story up today about the “next wave” of shortstops. The “new guard” of “younger stars rising to the top at their position.” Bet you can’t wait to click through and find out who all these hot young talents are! Maybe you’ll find out about them before your fantasy draft and scoop them up before your opponents even know their names! OK, here goes!
Hanley Ramirez, Troy Tulowitzki, Yunel Escobar, Jose Reyes and Erick Aybar.
Er, yeah. Ramirez and Tulowitzki are entering their fifth full seasons. Escobar his fourth. Aybar his fourth or fifth depending on how you count 2006. Reyes is entering his eighth. Sure, these guys still have a lot of baseball in them, but you’re not even a “rising star” at a bank or a law firm if you’ve been around eight years. You’re just a guy.
I suppose guys like Alcides Escobar and Starlin Castro aren’t ready to be called “the new guard” yet, but they’re closer to that than Jose Reyes is to being a “rising star.”
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.