Bengie Molina is in the unique position of getting a World Series ring even if the Rangers lose, as the veteran catcher spent the first half of the season with the Giants before being traded on July 1.
He’s guaranteed some new jewelry and will pad his wallet with a playoff share from both teams, but Molina told reporters yesterday that he’s leaning toward retiring following the series:
It’s more a yes than a no right now. I’m not saying for sure because something can happen in the winter and it can get worked out. But as for now, yes.
Molina wasn’t able to secure a multi-year deal as a free agent last winter and at age 36 would likely have to settle for another one-year pact this time around, but he’d certainly be able to find at least a part-time gig for 2011. However, for all the talk about the importance of his veteran leadership and impact on the Rangers there may not be many starting jobs available for an incredible slow 36-year-old who hit .249/.297/.326.
I’d miss being able to watch a big leaguer with the same body type as me, but one upside to Molina retiring is that it would create a job opening for other Molina brothers who haven’t yet had an opportunity to join the family business of catching big-league pitchers. Bengie, Yadier, and Jose have been hogging all the gigs, but I’m assuming there are at least a dozen more Molina brothers somewhere with equally strong throwing arms and equally molasses-like gaits.
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.