The Giants have home-field advantage during the World Series thanks to the National League winning the All-Star Game back in July, so the Rangers will have to play without the designated hitter for the first two games of the series.
With that in mind, Rangers manager Ron Washington told Jeff Kaplan of ESPNDallas.com that Vladimir Guerrero will start either Game 1 or Game 2 in the outfield.
“I don’t know yet. Haven’t decided,” Washington said of which game he might give his cleanup hitter the start. “We really haven’t sat down and talked about it yet, but you can best believe we’ll figure out a way to get Vlad in in there. In the starting lineup, some kind of way.”
The 35-year-old Guerrero played the outfield just 18 times this season, mostly during Interleague Play. He has played there just once since the beginning of September.
The Giants haven’t announced their rotation for the World Series, but they are expected to pitch Tim Lincecum in Game 1 and Matt Cain in Game 2. David Murphy has started against most right-handed starters during the playoffs, so he will likely start the game Vlad doesn’t.
Guerrero is batting .267 (12-for-45) with three doubles, four RBI and four runs scored during the postseason. He drove in three runs when the Rangers finished off the Yankees in the ALCS on Friday night.
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.