Yesterday we heard Ruben Amaro trying to spin things in such a way so that if Jayson Werth signs elsewhere, Amaro can claim that it wasn’t about the money. Apparently he also tried to spin things in such a way so that he can also claim that Werth wasn’t necessarily worth it in the first place. How? By saying that Werth “did not have an extraordinary year.”
Which is kind of nuts. I mean, sure, if you believe that Werth was never an elite player to begin with, his 2010 isn’t necessarily going to make you think otherwise. You have crazy high standards, I guess, but good for you for having them.
But if you think Werth was a top talent prior to this year — which I’m guessing Amaro certainly did — you can’t reasonably claim or even imply that his 2010 was some kind of disappointment. Werth’s agent Scott Boras certainly agrees, saying in response to Amaro that “the only way to argue that Jayson had a decline in 2010 is to look at home runs, where he was down by nine. But so many other areas of his performance were up. A lot of people would say he had a better year in 2010 than he did in 2009.”
Not substantially better, but his on base and slugging percentage both went up. While the homers dipped by nine, the doubles increased by 20 and he hit an extra triple. It’s certainly hard to argue that he had a falloff from 2009, even if a lot of people wanted to believe he did earlier in the season.
The key thing here is that there is no way on Earth that Ruben Amaro would have said, a year ago, that, Jayson Werth didn’t have an extraordinary year. The fact that he’s saying it now is more a matter of politics than it is a matter of baseball analysis.
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.