Lastings Milledge, who was at one time considered a top Mets prospect, has had quite an odyssey around baseball the past few years. Ridiculed right out of the gate in Washington thanks to Manny Acta putting him in center field when he really wasn’t cut out for it, he struggled with the Nats and then was cut loose by the Pirates of all teams. It was rather surprising, therefore, to see him make the White Sox roster out of spring training.
But now that’s over too. He was designated for assignment today in order to make room for reliever Jeff Gray. Milledge had only four at bats this season. DFAing him gives the Sox ten days in which to trade him, release him or send him down to the minors. I’m guessing that no one is all that interested in giving up a thing for Milledge, so one of the latter two options seems likely.
He turned 26 on Tuesday, so there’s not a lot of hope that Milledge will ever be an everyday player. But he could probably be a platoon guy, corner defensive replacement. Or not.
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.