Scott Podsednik, who signed a minor-league contract with the Blue Jays last week after previously turning down $2 million from the Dodgers, is wearing a walking boot because of plantar fasciitis.
John Lott of the National Post reports that Podsednik is due to be examined by doctors when he arrives at Blue Jays camp tomorrow and there’s currently “no timetable” for his readiness for game action. According to Lott, manager John Farrell indicated that the team didn’t know about the injury when they signed Podsednik, which is surprising given that it was just last week and so much of his value stems from speed.
Podsednik is slated to compete for a bench spot in Toronto, but could also be an option as the Blue Jays’ left fielder and leadoff man depending on how the rest of the lineup shakes out. He can earn $1 million by making the team, so Podsednik’s decision to decline his half of a mutual option with the Dodgers back in November will cost him at least $1 million even if he gets healthy and wins a job. And with an injury that tends to linger, that’s far from a guarantee.
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.