Terry Francona was tossed from Friday’s game and likely will be banned for a game or two after coming out to argue a balk call against the Twins.
The call by Angel Hernandez appeared to be correct. Tim Wakefield tried the fake-to-third-throw-to-first move and it worked, as Denard Span took off for second and was picked off. Wakefield, though, didn’t follow through with the original move to third before spinning and firing to first, drawing the run-scoring balk.
Francona came out and was immeidiately tossed, since it’s against the rules for managers to argue a balk.
But that was far from the end it.
Crew chief Joe West decided to interject himself in between Francona and Hernandez, who chose to ignore Francona entirely after tossing him. West and Francona bumped chests (and guts, in West’s case) several times before Francona finally left the field (minus his gum).
The end result will likely be a suspension for Francona, though West seemed to instigate most of the bumping himself. The cowboy is at least as worthy of being sat down for a few games as is Boston’s manager.
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.