Terry Collins, commenting on Luis Castillo not showing up to Mets camp until — gasp! — he was required to show up:
“I was hoping he would be here,” Collins said. “Yeah, I was hoping he would be here, just so I can get the conversation over. And, again, I’m a real believer in sending a message to the organization as a player.”
Yes, in Castillo’s case I can see the value in showing up early. He’s fighting for a job and it makes all kinds of sense to act like he’s fighting hard.
But has the idea of showing up early gotten out of control? Seems like everyone’s either doing it or talking about it. It won’t be long, I imagine, before even the non-bubble players are being thought less of for actually showing up when they are required to show up rather than appearing all gung-ho about it.
The NFL got into some trouble with this a few years ago with those allegedly “voluntary” minicamps that guys lost their jobs over if they didn’t attend. I wonder if we’re not heading in that direction in baseball too. And if the union is going to start saying something about comments like Collins’.
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.