Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times reports that Shin-Soo Choo has hired Scott Boras to be his agent, leaving Octagon Worldwide behind. Choo, 27, batted .300/.394/.489 with 20 homers, 86 RBI and 26 stolen bases last season. He is under team control through 2013, but he will be arbitration-eligible for the first time after this season.
Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com recently reported that the Indians feel they have the financial flexibility to lock up both Choo and Asdrubal Cabrera to long-term contracts, however an extension for Choo will almost certainly be complicated by the presence of Boras.
Of course, Kendry Morales also recently hired Boras after he fired the Hendricks brothers in what appears to be a financial dispute. Like Choo, the 26-year-old first baseman will be arbitration-eligible for the first time after this season.
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.