Tim Wakefield gets the start tonight for the Red Sox. Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald reminds us that if he pitches 3.1 innings, his base salary for 2011 goes from $1.5 million to $2 million. Not that he wouldn’t get it eventually — it doesn’t have to come tonight — but I always like watching benchmarks like that being passed.
Of course, this is nowhere near as fun as watching the Magglio Ordonez thing last year or the year before or whenever it was, in which a certain number of plate appearances gave him an approximately sixteen gajillion dollar contract extension. For that matter, it’s not as fun as the time Jimy Williams gave Steve Avery starts which allowed his option to vest despite the fact that he had absolutely nothing left. If that wasn’t either (a) a nice show of loyalty to kid Williams watched come up from the minors; or (b) an F-U to ownership, I don’t know what it was.
Yeah, I realize I need to get out more.
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.