Before the season started, the expectation was that the big name on the market would be Adrian Gonzalez. That changed when the Padres starting winning, of course. Looks like the winning and attendant optimism has gone on so long now that there won’t be any trade at all, even next year, reports Jayson Stark:
“Even if they miss the playoffs now, coming off a year this successful,
it would be difficult for them to move him,” said one team official.
“They’re still scrapping and clawing, trying to get people back into
their park and build back their base. So it would be a precarious
decision to endanger that and trade him. I’d really be surprised if they
did that now.”
In my mind it’s not just the Padres winning that changes the original calculus. The leak of those small-revenue-team financial documents matters too. Padres fans should not be nearly as credulous of the team crying poor now as they were last winter, and their expectation should be that the Padres can — if they desire to — sign Gonzalez to an extension.
At the very least, Padres fans and the media that covers the team should demand that the Padres lay real numbers on the table before they ship Gonzalez out the door or let him walk as a free agent after next year.
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.