Everybody is understandably talking about Manny right now, but there was another piece of interesting news to come out of Chicago on Monday. Andruw Jones told Scott Merkin of MLB.com that he would like to play five more seasons.
“Everybody says he’s getting old or he’s losing it,” said the
33-year-old Jones. “There are things you have to work on and try to get
yourself more consistent. Hopefully when you get the opportunity to
play, you can get back on that roll. But I’m looking for another five
years, and if I play consistently, I should be where I want to be.”
It’s funny that he mentions consistency, because let’s compare his production over the past two seasons:
2009: .214/.323/.459 with 17 home runs, 43 RBI and a 782 OPS in 281 at-bats
2010: .215/.321/.474 with 18 home runs, 42 RBI and a 795 OPS in 251 at-bats (entering play Monday)
Whether you think he’s been good or bad, that’s pretty darn remarkable. Thankfully, looking at the patterns of his last two seasons, we know that if he gets off to a hot start again next April, it doesn’t mean “he’s back.” At this point, he’s merely a decent power bat who is still fairly capable in the outfield.
Jones, who signed a one-year, incentive-laden $500,000 contract with the White Sox last November, told Merkin that he would like to stay in Chicago next season. It’s worth noting that he enters play Monday with 406 career home runs, so staying in the American League is obviously his best bet if he hopes to have any shot at cracking 500 home runs. With the game increasingly shifting towards youth, however, it seems unlikely he’ll stick around long enough.
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.