They didn’t have a first-round pick last night, but the Yankees did have a supplemental first rounder at No. 51 thanks to losing Javier Vazquez as a free agent (seriously) and they used it on high school slugger Dante Bichette Jr.
In addition to being the son of four-time All-Star outfielder Dante Bichette he’s also a legitimate prospect, with Baseball America ranking Bichette as the 108th-best player in the draft.
And as Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News points out, it also didn’t hurt that Bichette Sr. is such good friends with Yankees manager Joe Girardi that Girardi named his son Dante. They played together on the Rockies from 1993 to 1995.
If junior can match senior’s career the Yankees will be thrilled with the pick, but he’ll probably never be able to match the old man’s physique.
New York gave up its first-round pick, No. 31 overall, to sign Rafael Soriano as a free agent.
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.