I have no words. Aaron’s analysis is here. Here are the winners:
C: Joe Mauer
1B: Mark Teixeira
2B: Robinson Cano
SS: Derek Freakin’ Jeter
OF: Ichiro Suzuki
OF: Carl Crawford
OF: Franklin Gutierrez
P: Mark Buehrle
I suppose good arguments can be made for and against most of those guys, but I don’t see how anyone can call Derek Jeter the best defensive shortstop in the American League. Even the heartiest Jeter backers have given up vouching his defense in recent years. This is an inertia award, voted on by people who care less about actually honoring good defense than in honoring tenure and popularity and, maybe, in defensively perpetuating the erroneous belief that we never grow old, our skills never erode and that we never will die.
The thinking: “Hey, if Derek Jeter is still pickin’ it like gold in his mid-to-late 30s, I must be in my salad days! [whistle whistle whistle . . .]”
We’ll have more analysis on this as the day goes on. I, for one, am going to get a stiff drink in the hopes of forgetting this ever happened.
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.