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.
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.