I’ve taken a few shots at Ken Macha in the past couple of days, mostly because teams that (a) are expected to contend; (b) lose nine games in a row; and (c) have an able and experienced bench coach like Willie Randolph hanging around tend to fire their managers.
But that’s not the case says Brewers’ GM Doug Melvin:
“I don’t see any reason. I
see reasons to work together and try to get some wins . . .Everybody wants to fire everybody, but I talk to Mark everyday and Ken
every day. You go about and do your business, and all
you’ve got to do is continue to work hard.”
I’m not going to call that a dreaded vote of confidence because of the “I don’t see any reason” line. That could later make Melvin’s judgment look poor in the event Macha is fired. A true dreaded vote of confidence would be more passively-stated, in which Macha’s good qualities were listed, the situation generally but vaguely addressed, but no personal endorsement took place.
So I’ll lay off Macha now. This wasn’t the dreaded vote of confidence. This was a legitimate vote of confidence.
At least I think so.
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.