UPDATE, 9:28pm: A few interesting nuggets from Rosenthal:
Damon played golf Monday with White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski and broadcaster Ken “Hawk” Harrelson.
And Damon’s wife, Michelle, “would prefer him to play in a more cosmopolitan city than Detroit.”
Still, Damon is going to sign where he finds the most money and it remains to be seen if the White Sox will up their offer.
UPDATE, 8:49pm: Rosenthal now says that a new offer has not been made by the White Sox and their original proposal is not as lucrative as Detroit’s. Well, that was fun while it lasted.
8:30pm: According to FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal, a potential agreement between the White Sox and free agent outfielder Johnny Damon is “gaining momentum.”
It’s a bit of a surprise considering the Tigers’ deep involvement with Damon as recently as Monday, but the news also serves as a reminder that we should never count White Sox GM Kenny Williams out of the hunt for any available free agent or trade target. Rosenthal is hearing that Williams and Co. have made a second offer, and it’s probably safe to assume that the new proposal is either equally or more lucrative than Detroit’s standing bid.
Damon, 36, batted .282/.365/.489 with 24 homers, 82 RBI, 12 stolen bases and 107 runs scored in 550 at-bats last season for the
Yankees and would likely serve as Chicago’s starting left fielder this year if an agreement is reached. He has also been courted this winter by the Braves and Rays, though we haven’t heard much from either team in several weeks. Damon is represented by super-agent Scott Boras.
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.