The market for left-hander Jorge De La Rosa is heating up.
According to Troy Renck of the Denver Post, the Nationals, Pirates and Orioles have been the most aggressive suitors thus far and other teams are expected to join the fray.
The Nats have been on the hunt for a reliable long-term starter since their move to the nation’s capital and have shown a willingness to offer large free agent contracts in the past.
ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick says that Washington GM Mike Rizzo met with De La Rosa’s agent down in Orlando, Florida this week and it seems like the two sides have mutual interest. Rizzo has also been in touch with the representatives for Cliff Lee, but that still looks like a two-team race between the Rangers and Yankees.
Thought of as this offseason’s second-most valuable free agent starter, De La Rosa is likely to cash in despite the pedestrian 4.22 ERA and 1.33 WHIP that he registered over 122 2/3 frames for the Rockies this past season.
The Pirates have reportedly made him their primary offseason target and the O’s boast enough financial resources to strike a deal.
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.