Kevin Kernan of the New York Post has a lengthy column today entitled “Manuel’s job in jeopardy” and says “this looks to be the point of no return” for Jerry Manuel as Mets manager. Here’s more:
The other day in San Francisco at AT&T Park the interview area for manager Jerry Manuel was moved to around the corner from the clubhouse. When Manuel emerged from the clubhouse and saw that his usual spot near the door had been relocated down the hallway, he said jokingly that “the street” would be the next stop for him. That day could be just around the corner for Manuel.
Manuel being on the hot seat is nothing new and in fact has been true for much of the past two years, although when the Mets were playing really well about a month ago he started to get praise for their success.
For instance, just 30 days ago Jon Heyman of SI.com wrote: “Time to give Jerry Manuel an extension. He fostered positive vibe around Mets.”
Manuel and the Mets have gone 9-16 since Heyman wrote that. Apparently the “positive vibe” vanished when the winning stopped. What a weird coincidence, right?
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.