But that could change next month, agent Paul Kinzer told FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal on Monday.
According to Kinzer, while Ramirez is currently unwilling to accept any deal that would take him out of Chicago, he might agree to something after his wife and children return to the Dominican Republic next month.
Even more interesting is that Kinzer said Ramirez would want to waive his 2012 option as part of any deal. Ramirez has a $16 million club option for 2012 that the Cubs aren’t expected to exercise, but that option would automatically become guaranteed as part of any trade.
Kinzer said Ramirez would rather become a free agent at season’s end than accept a $16 million salary for 2012, and if that’s the case, he’d become quite a bit more attractive to suitors. Most teams would be scared off by that kind of payout.
Contenders needing help at third base include the Angels, Tigers, Brewers, Pirates, White Sox and Diamondbacks. The Yankees could also qualify, having Alex Rodriguez might be about ready to return from knee surgery by the time Ramirez is willing to accept a trade.
Ramirez would have to be placed on waivers in order to be dealt in August.
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.