Yesterday the Marlins lost for the 14th time in 15 games to slide into sole possession of last place in the NL East and judging from Hanley Ramirez’s comments about having Edwin Rodriguez’s “back till death” the players clearly think their manager is on the hot seat.
Team president David Samson told Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post that firing Rodriguez “is not something that I have pondered.”
He stopped well short of saying Rodriguez’s job is safe, however, as Capozzi notes that he “chose his words carefully” and “left that door open a bit” while saying:
Obviously we are going through an unprecedented bad stretch and we are disappointed. But as quickly as things have gone bad, we are hoping they can get good again. I am confident we have the ability to get out of this. We’ll just have to see how we do it. You hear this from us every year: Everyone is always evaluated every day, always.
Roughly translated, that sure seems like “we’re not ready to fire him right now, but we’re also not ruling it out if the losing continues for much longer.”
Rodriguez, who took over as manager in the middle of last year when the Marlins fired Fredi Gonzalez following back-to-back winning seasons, has gone 78-83 in one game short of a full season at the helm.
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.