UPDATE: MLB.com’s Bill Ladson hears that the Nationals are “aggressively pursuing” Wang and are “one of the finalists” for his services.
5:23pm: Rosenthal reports that two teams have already made Chien-Ming Wang offers, have watched him pitch multiple times and have even given him a physical. The teams that made said offers have not been identified, but Rosenthal reports that the Mets or Dodgers are not one of them, despite the fact that they probably need him more than anyone.
Wang is expected to make his mind up soon. There’s probably no reason to expect him to pitch in a game until the season is at least a couple months old.
No telling how he’ll do once he’s activated, but he’s a decent gamble for anyone who figures that they’ll gave to make some mid-season pickup for pitching anyway. Which is pretty much everyone most years.
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.