Yesterday the Mets chose Blaine Boyer over Manny Acosta for their final bullpen spot and also asked 38-year-old Jason Isringhausen to stay behind in extended spring training so they could make sure his elbow is healthy before potentially adding him to the relief mix.
Isringhausen agreed to do that today and will remain in Florida for two weeks, saying: “I’ve come this far, two more weeks ain’t gonna kill me.”
He was impressive enough this spring that the Mets seem genuinely interested in using him this season and given Isringhausen’s statements about not being willing to go the minors at this stage of his career they likely made him some quasi-assurances to get the agreement.
And according to Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com, if another team expresses interest in adding Isringhausen to the major-league roster during that time the Mets will either have to call him up or cut him loose.
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.