Kevin Correia will turn down San Diego’s arbitration offer but is still interested in potentially re-signing with the Padres, according to agent Damon Lapa.
Tonight is the deadline for free agents to accept or decline arbitration offers, and as a Type B free agent Correia will fetch the Padres a compensatory draft pick between the first and second rounds should he sign elsewhere.
After a strong 2009 that saw him post a 3.91 ERA in 33 starts Correia struggled this season and was yanked from the rotation in September, finishing with a 5.40 ERA in 145 innings.
His decision not to accept arbitration is somewhat surprising, as doing so would have guaranteed him at least the $3.6 million salary he earned in 2010. Either the market for the 30-year-old right-hander with a 4.57 career ERA is better than it seemingly should be or the Padres and Correia worked out one of those gentleman’s agreements beforehand to ensure he’d decline the arbitration offer if they made it.
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.