We already know that Tony La Russa will return to managing the St. Louis Cardinals next season. But the future of hitting coach Mark McGwire is far less certain, according to Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
La Russa on Monday referred to McGwire as “really torn” about whether to return for a second season as hitting coach following the birth June 1 of triplet daughters. McGwire, who has been asked back, last month raised the possibility of not returning because of family concerns. Those issues have become more obvious since McGwire rejoined his wife, Stephanie, and their five children in California, according to La Russa.
“He’s having a real tussle trying to figure it out. Coach? Father? We’ll see which way he goes,” La Russa said. “He’ll definitely be offered a chance to come back.”
I’m sure baseball wives get used to their husbands being away a lot of the time, but with four-month old triplet daughters as part of the equation, you can bet McGwire is getting the full-court press to help out on the home front.
So expect McGwire to sit out next season, unless he hires a nanny or three.
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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.