I know Angel Hernandez is a bad umpire. You know Angel Hernandez is a bad umpire. Heck, I presume that everyone affiliated with Major League Baseball in one way or another knows it too.
Thing is, you just rarely hear anyone come out and say it.
Well, Ron Washington came out and said it last night after both he and Rangers first base coach Gary Pettis were ejected in the seventh inning of last night’s Marlins-Rangers game after arguing that Marlins’ pitcher Mike Dunn had balked when Nelson Cruz was picked off first base and caught in a rundown:
“Angel is just bad,” Washington said. “That’s all there is to it.”
Here’s the whole exchange, including the no-call on the balk and the subsequent argument. I think it was a balk. If you watch the last replay of it toward the end of the video (the one with the overhead angle from the third base side) you can tell that he came way farther toward home with this front leg than is allowed before going to first. Of course, balks are some of the most inconsistently-called plays in baseball, so I imagine that if Hernandez had called it a balk there, there would have been an equally colorful argument from Jack McKeon.
But we can all agree that Angel Hernandez is a bad umpire, right? We can also agree that Washington is probably going to get fined for the bill of his cap smacking the bill of Hernandez’s cap, right? And that we’ll never hear publicly about Hernandez getting disciplined for bad calls?
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.