Jon Heyman of SI.com reports that an MRI on the right shoulder of Huston Street came back “clean.” This at least eliminates the worst-case scenario of season-ending surgery or something of that nature, but according to Heyman, the club “will take it slow with him” and “look for another reliever.”
Obviously, Street’s chances of opening the season on time are in real jeopardy. Manager Jim Tracy has already expressed confidence in Franklin Morales, who filled in for Street last season while he was nursing a sore right biceps tendon injury in September.
Just about an hour before Heyman’s tweet, Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reported that the Mets continue to talk with free agent left-hander Joe Beimel. Earlier today, Aaron mentioned the Rockies’ interest in Beimel as a second left-hander if Morales — the club’s most reliable southpaw out of the pen — assumes the closer role. Beimel, who turns 33 in April, posted a 4.02 ERA in 26 appearances with Colorado last 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.