It’s been over a year since he last wore a major league baseball uniform so we’re probably at the point where a story about Elijah Dukes getting arrested is less about a ballplayer in trouble with the law than it is about a criminal who happened to once play ball. Still, for old times sake:
Troubled former Tampa Bay Rays player Elijah Dukes has been charged in Florida with driving with a suspended or revoked driver’s license. Officials say the 26-year-old Dukes was arrested Sunday afternoon on an exit ramp of Interstate 75 near Tampa. Hillsborough County Jail records show he was released Sunday on a $250 bond.
Suspended license? It’s like he’s not even trying anymore. Dukes’ crimes used to be so much more ugly and require so much more criminal intent than this. A suspended license is just plain laziness. He’s become a shell of his former self.
If Dukes wants to be relevant in his chosen field again, he’s really going to have to raise the stakes. Elijah: have you considered light treason?
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.