Bryce Harper

Bryce Harper No. 1, nine Royals on BA’s Top 100 Prospects

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Baseball America put out its annual top 100 prospects list Wednesday, leading off with 2010 first overall pick Bryce Harper as the top prospect in the land. Here’s the top 10:

1. Bryce Harper (OF Nationals)
2. Mike Trout (OF Angels)
3. Jesus Montero (C Yankees)
4. Domonic Brown (OF Phillies)
5. Jeremy Hellickson (RHP Rays)
6. Julio Teheran (RHP Braves)
7. Aroldis Chapman (LHP Reds)
8. Eric Hosmer (1B Royals)
9. Mike Moustakas (3B Royals)
10. Wil Myers (OF Royals)

Six other Royals made the list, including left-handed pitchers John Lamb and Mike Montgomery back-to-back at Nos. 18 and 19. The Rays placed second with seven prospects, while the Braves and Yankees had six apiece.

At the other end of the spectrum, the Brewers placed no players on the list after trading No. 40 prospect Brett Lawrie for Shaun Marcum and No. 69 prospect Jake Odorizzi for Zack Greinke over the winter. The Marlins’ only representitive was Matt Dominguez at No. 81.

Given BA’s reputation for valuing upside, Hellickson as the top pitcher in the rankings is something of a surprise. While there’s a good case for him, he lacks the flash of Teheran or Chapman. That said, he probably is the best bet of the group to win 200 games as a major leaguer.

And as long as I’m throwing opinions around, I’d say BA was too low on the Giants’ Brandon Belt (No. 23), the Orioles’ Zach Britton (No. 28) and the Athletics’ Grant Green (No. 63). Placing too high were the White Sox’s Chris Sale (No. 20), new Ray Chris Archer (No. 27) and Jays catcher Travis d’Arnaud (No. 36).

Report: Phillies close to signing Joaquin Benoit

ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 15:  Joaquin Benoit #53 of the Toronto Blue Jays pitches during the seventh inning of a game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim  at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 15, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images
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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.

Report: The new collective bargaining agreement reduces players’ meal money

ADVANCE FOR WEEKEND EDITIONS, JAN. 18-19 - This Jan. 15, 2014 photo showing new baseball union head Tony Clark during an interview at the organization's headquarters, in New York. Clark has big shoes to fill _ and not just as Michael Weiner's replacement as head of the baseball players' union. Moving from Arizona to New Jersey, the former big league All-Star also needed to find size 15 snowshoes.  (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
AP Photo/Richard Drew
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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.