Sources tell Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle that Bengie Molina was told that he was traded to the Rangers by teammates upon arriving to Denver on Wednesday. Molina basically implied as much in his comments to reporters in Dallas.
“It was kind of weird,” he said. “Teammates were all coming up to me and saying goodbye. I was like, ‘What’s going on?’ I guess I’ve been released. I’ve never been in that situation before.”
As Schulman notes, a team official usually informs a player of an impending trade, however it looks like they weren’t able to get in contact with him before it actually went down. Odd, but maybe not entirely surprising. As Buster Olney informed us this week, Brian Sabean apparently doesn’t know how to use a phone.
By the way, Molina was 1-for-4 with a single in his Rangers debut against the White Sox on Friday night.
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.