Rosenthal: Oswalt should be more flexible

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Ken Rosenthal thinks that Roy Oswalt needs to drop his demand that whatever team he goes to pick up his 2012 option. He also thinks that Oswalt needs to be more flexible about the teams to which he’d accept trades:

If Roy Oswalt wants to be traded – really wants to be traded – he should start acting like it.

That means dropping any demand for a potential suitor to exercise his
$16 million club option for 2012; his new team could compensate him for
waiving his no-trade clause in a less extravagant way.

It also means staying open-minded on which teams he would approve
for a trade; the Cardinals, his reported first choice, are not the only
club with a chance to win the World Series.

Remember, Oswalt asked the Astros to trade him, relaying his request
through his agent, Bob Garber, in May. Some rival executives find it
galling that the pitcher now seems to be trying to orchestrate every
term of his departure.

I see what Rosenthal is saying — and I’d agree with him wholeheartedly if Oswalt was out there complaining about the Astros not being able to find a trade partner or something — but I’ll note that no one ever expects teams to simply surrender the leverage for which they have bargained.  And I’ll also ask: in what “less extravagant way” could a new team compensate Oswalt for dropping his no-trade rights?  The minute he drops them, he has zero leverage to demand anything.

We certainly shouldn’t hear Oswalt to complain if the Astros can’t trade him given what he’s asking for, but in a world where teams can control where players work for the first six to twelve years of their career before the player even gets a bit of say in the matter, I have no problem with Oswalt using whatever means are at his disposal to get what he wants for the final handful of years of his career.

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.