After six straight losses the Red Sox have made their first moves of the season, placing Matt Albers on the disabled list and designating Dennys Reyes for assignment while replacing them in the bullpen with Alfredo Aceves and Felix Doubront.
Reyes beat out Hideki Okajima for the left-handed specialist gig during spring training, but is now being cut loose after throwing all of 1.2 innings. He didn’t pitch well, allowing three runs while struggling to throw strikes, but if Reyes was good enough to make the Opening Day roster (and get $900,000) he’s seemingly good enough to stick with for longer than a week.
Instead of replacing him with Okajima the Red Sox are instead turning to Doubront, who began the season on the disabled list with an elbow injury. He’s been exclusively a starter in the minors, but the 23-year-old lefty will try to stick around in the bullpen for now.
Aceves probably would have made the Opening Day roster if not for the fact that he had a minor-league option remaining and could be sent to Triple-A. The former Yankee has the potential be a setup-caliber reliever if healthy and also serves as rotation depth should the Red Sox need another starter. He had a 3.21 ERA and 87/30 K/BB ratio in 126 innings for the Yankees during the past three years.
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.