Ed Wade, call your real estate agent.
That’s the message Richard Justice delivers in his post today about how the Astros organization is likely to change once Jim Crane and his just announced right-hand man George Postolos take over following the imminent sale by Drayton McLane. The idea: Postolos — who happens to be the former President and CEO of the Houston Rockets — has a track record of favoring bright young minds and data-driven analysis, the sort of which does not currently reign in the Astros’ front office. The upshot: on both the business and the baseball side, major changes are likely to happen in Houston.
Justice believes that Brad Mills and the on-field staff is safe, however, which makes total sense. Last year they squeezed a lot out of a little. This year they aren’t, but it’s not their fault.
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.