Red Sox 'tracking the progress of Chris Iannetta'

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Troy Renck of the Denver Post reports that “the Red Sox are tracking the progress of catcher Chris Iannetta in Triple-A Colorado Springs in case the Rockies make him available.”
Despite being 27 years old and a three-time Opening Day starter with over 1,100 career plate appearances Iannetta was demoted to Triple-A last month when he got off to a 4-for-30 (.133) start. He’s hitting .362 with five homers, seven doubles, and a 1.191 OPS in 15 games at Triple-A, but there’s no indication that the Rockies plan to bring him back, let alone give him a chance to reclaim his starting job over Miguel Olivo.
Boston’s interest in Iannetta would seemingly come into play after the season, when Victor Martinez and Jason Varitek are both free agents. What made the Rockies’ decision to demote Iannetta all the more confusing is that they signed him to a three-year, $8.5 million extension in January. Plenty of teams should be looking to take advantage of the Rockies souring on an under-30 catcher with a .799 career OPS and 23 homers per 500 at-bats who’s signed cheaply through 2012.

Report: Phillies close to signing Joaquin Benoit

ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 15:  Joaquin Benoit #53 of the Toronto Blue Jays pitches during the seventh inning of a game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim  at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 15, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images
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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.

Report: The new collective bargaining agreement reduces players’ meal money

ADVANCE FOR WEEKEND EDITIONS, JAN. 18-19 - This Jan. 15, 2014 photo showing new baseball union head Tony Clark during an interview at the organization's headquarters, in New York. Clark has big shoes to fill _ and not just as Michael Weiner's replacement as head of the baseball players' union. Moving from Arizona to New Jersey, the former big league All-Star also needed to find size 15 snowshoes.  (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
AP Photo/Richard Drew
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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.