Returning to Boston for the second time since being traded from the Red Sox to the Dodgers during the 2008 season, Manny Ramirez said Friday that he was to blame for the turn of events that led to his departure from the team he helped lead to two World Series titles.
As he told ESPNBoston.com:
I think everything was my fault. But, hey, you’ve got to be a real man to realize when you do wrong. Hey, it was my fault. I’m already past that stage and I’m happy with my new team.
Ramirez, who declined to speak to reporters when he played in Fenway as a Dodger in June 2009, said he apologized to Kevin Youkilis in his last stop in Boston. The two players fought in the dugout prior to the trade that sent Ramirez to the Dodgers two years ago.
When I went to first base and saw Youkilis, I said, ‘Hey, what happened between you and me, I’m sorry. That’s my fault.’ So it takes a real man just to go and tell a person it was my fault. That’s what I did.
Far more talkative than usual, Ramirez also said today that he would have been willing to waive his no-trade clause to return to Boston had the Red Sox, rather than the White Sox, claimed him off waivers last month and that he’s not sure whether he’ll be back to play in 2011.
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.