UPDATE: Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com confirms it. The Angels have signed Downs to a three-year, $15 million contract. He could earn an additional $1 million based on games finished.
Downs, who turns 35 in March, posted a 2.64 ERA and 48/14 K/BB ratio over 61 1/3 innings this past season. The southpaw has a 2.36 ERA over 262 appearances since the beginning of the 2007 season.
Updating my previous entry, the Angels’ first-round pick (#14 overall) is protected in next year’s draft, so signing Downs (a Type A free agent) would cost them their second-round pick. If they signed Adrian Beltre — who has a higher Elias ranking — that pick would go to the Red Sox and the Blue Jays would receive the Angels’ third-round pick.
This isn’t exactly sticking it to the Red Sox for losing out on Crawford, but it’s obviously a little better than I originally thought. That being said, you would think this would have to take them out of the market for Rafael Soriano, right?
6:15 PM: Unless some “sick fake person” took over Peter Gammons’ Twitter account, it appears that the Angels may be close to signing Scott Downs to a three-year, $15 million contract.
That leaves me with this question. If signing Hisanori Takahashi to a two-year, $8 million contract was a “splash,” as Angels general manager Tony Regains described it the other day, would it be fair to classify Scott Downs as a tsunami?
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.