I spent this morning at the doctor’s office getting my annual checkup. First one since, like, 2003, so I should probably look up the term “annual.” In any event it went well. When my doctor asked me if I’m still practicing law I told him no, that I was a baseball blogger. I got the same response I normally get when I say that: “really?” That’s combined with a face that basically says “that’s a job?” Alas. He was nice, though: as soon as he said that he asked me if I’ve ever seen “that PBS documentary about baseball. The one with all of the old footage in it. Kind of goes over the whole history?” I’m beginning to suspect that my doctor isn’t the biggest baseball fan.
Anyway: back to the grind:
Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe tells us that the Brewers and Nationals are “out in front” in the “Carl Pavano sweepstakes.” Just like I can tell what my doctor’s facial expressions mean, I can detect tone from certain tweets, and I think Mr. Cafardo is being sarcastic in calling this a “sweepstakes.”
Not that Pavano wouldn’t be a prize. Especially for the Brewers, whose starting pitching was a freakin’ train wreck last season. Pavano would be a nice addition. Between that and the Brewers deciding that they’re going to keep Prince Fielder, one gets the sense that they’re really going to try and go for it next year.
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.