Kosuke Fukudome

With trade rumors swirling, Kosuke Fukudome buys a $1.3 million condo in Chicago

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This could mean absolutely nothing or it could mean that he’s not paying much attention to the trade rumors swirling this week, but Kosuke Fukudome just bought a three-bedroom condo in Chicago for $1.32 million.

Dennis Rodkin of ChicagoMag.com reports that Fukudome and his wife had been renting a place since signing with the Cubs in 2007, so the decision to own is definitely curious right now.

Earlier this week Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune wrote that the Cubs may have to trade Fukudome and the $13.5 million remaining on his contract in order to pursue any of their top free-agent targets. Later his Tribune colleague Phil Rogers wrote that the Cubs were “kicking around” a trade that would send Fukudome to the Red Sox for Daisuke Matsuzaka, but that rumor was pretty thoroughly squashed before long.

Whatever the case, it seems obvious that the Cubs are interested in parting with Fukudome at the same time he’s apparently interested in settling down in Chicago. Of course, it’s also possible that spending $1.3 million doesn’t mean much of anything for a guy with a $48 million contract.

Report: Phillies close to signing Joaquin Benoit

ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 15:  Joaquin Benoit #53 of the Toronto Blue Jays pitches during the seventh inning of a game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim  at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 15, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images
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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.

Report: The new collective bargaining agreement reduces players’ meal money

ADVANCE FOR WEEKEND EDITIONS, JAN. 18-19 - This Jan. 15, 2014 photo showing new baseball union head Tony Clark during an interview at the organization's headquarters, in New York. Clark has big shoes to fill _ and not just as Michael Weiner's replacement as head of the baseball players' union. Moving from Arizona to New Jersey, the former big league All-Star also needed to find size 15 snowshoes.  (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
AP Photo/Richard Drew
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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.