There’s a story in the Detroit News about the superstitions of the Detroit Tigers. Here’s one of Jose Valverde’s:
“I have a couple of cars, like a Lexus and a Mercedes. If I throw good while I’m driving one car, I stay with that car. I’m driving the Lexus now — and have been since the start of the season. But if I lose two games in a row, I’ll change cars.”
I think that “oh no, I accidentally drove the Mercedes to the ballpark instead of the Lexus” is the quintessential first world problem.
But hey, I’m not hating on Valverde here. As the man said, “If you believe you’re playing well because you’re getting laid, or because you’re not getting laid, or because you wear women’s underwear, or if you’re driving the Japanese luxury car instead of the German luxury car then you ARE! And you should know that!”
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.