Yesterday I presumed, based on some comments from Bob Watson, that umpire Joe West was going to get disciplined over his recent antics. Last night Jeff Passan of Yahoo! confirmed it. West might even get suspended:
A source said the league plans to suspend or fine West, one of its
most tenured umpires, after he solicited reporters this week to talk
about the controversy he created in April when he called the New York
Yankees and Boston Red Sox “pathetic and embarrassing” because of their
long game times.
Between West dredging up a subject MLB was peeved he addressed in
public in the first place, and the fallout from his ejections of Chicago
White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen and pitcher Mark Buehrle on Wednesday,
his behavior reached a tipping point for baseball officials. MLB
reprimanded West during a phone conversation Thursday and will continue
to consult with the World Umpires Assocation – of which West is
president – to determine the severity of his punishment.
I would have hoped that the “tipping point” would have come before the whole deal about West having his publicist solicit the media — he’d already done enough in my mind — but whatever it took Major League Baseball to get on this case, good for them finally getting on it. Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.
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.