According to Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes, the Rockies have reached agreement on a two-year contract extension with reliever Rafael Betancourt. The deal also carries a club option for 2013.
Betancourt, 35, has been one of the most reliable setup men in baseball for the past several seasons, especially recently in Colorado. Since coming over from the Indians in the summer of 2009, the right-hander has posted a 3.08 ERA, 0.94 WHIP and 118 strikeouts in 87.2 innings.
He will make $3.77 million this season, $4 million in 2012, and that option is worth $4.25 million or a $250,000 buyout. According to Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors, who did some translating of Rojas’ article, the total worth of the new deal is $8.02 million.
It’s rarely wise to shell out multi-year contracts to relievers, but Betancourt is a good one and probably worth the risk. He will handle the eighth inning behind closer Huston Street this season for the Rox.
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.