UPDATE: Angelos says Ripken has not offered himself to the team as a prospective employee, reports Buster Olney of ESPN.com.
“Quite simply, Cal Ripken did not offer to become part of the Oriole
organization in any secondary position, such as manager or as an
assistant to [team president] Andy MacPhail, or in some kind of support
role of MacPhail,” Angelos said. “If he wants to make such a proposal,
I’d like to hear about it.”
8:41 AM: Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that that Cal Ripken Jr. met with team president Andy MacPhail about rejoining the Orioles in a front office capacity, however the idea was eventually shot down by owner Peter Angelos.
Angelos, however, nixed the idea in a separate conversation with Ripken,
telling him, according to three sources, that he did not want Ripken to
receive credit once the team returned to prominence.
Rosenthal also writes that Angelos did not want to create the perception that MacPhail was not in complete control, a view that shows how out of touch he is with the fanbase already.
Listen, this sounds like pure ego stuff to me, but if Angelos is so worried about perception, he should have been prepared for the very real possibility that if he declined Ripken’s overtures, it would eventually leak out to the press. He should also recognize that if he wants to get in a battle with Ripken — the most beloved player in franchise history — for the hearts and minds of Orioles fans, he will lose every time.
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.