The Twins sprayed beer and stuff all over themselves early this morning, so it’s no surprise that the lineup today is a tad different from the one they used last night:
CF Denard Span
SS Alexi Casilla
DH Jason Kubel
3B Danny Valencia
1B Jose Morales
2B Matt Tolbert
LF Ben Revere
RF Jason Repko
C Drew Butera
That’s the look of a team playing a day game after a clinching the previous night. I expect great, great things today.
And heck, maybe it could happen. As I’ve said, like, three times this week, I’m reading a book about 1970s baseball. One of the anecdotes I came across in the early going was about one George Mitterwald, the Cubs backup catcher in 1974. He partied hard one night, thinking he’d get the day game off the following afternoon. Nope: he was in the lineup. All he did was go out and hit three home runs and set the single game franchise record with 14 total bases.
So, Drew Butera? Do you have a little Mitterwald in you?
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.