Multiple sources are reporting that the Mariners have traded Mike Sweeney to the Phillies for cash considerations and a player to be named later.
Um, OK. Sweeney is hitting .263/.327/.475 this year. Although the present tense is a bit misleading, in that he hasn’t played since June 25th. He’s only played in 30 games total, 21 of which were as a DH, six as a pinch hitter and only three games at first base. His most intense action this year, however, has come challenging his teammates to fights and browbeating and intimidating reporters who say negative things about his team.
With no real openings for “designated hardass” on this team, my guess is that the Phillies will platoon Sweeney at first base with Ross Gload. The more he plays, the better I like the Braves chances.
UPDATE: Holy moley! Charlie Manuel just said that the starting job is Sweeney’s! Mike Sweeney hasn’t been a regular first baseman for a good five years, so this should be . . . interesting.
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.