It’s been pretty clear for a long time that Josh Johnson wouldn’t throw another meaningful pitch this season, but it took until Thursday for the Marlins to make it official.
“You rewind this whole thing we thought it was gonna be a two-week thing and that was four months ago,” Marlins baseball operations president Larry Beinfest said.
Indeed, Johnson has been on the DL since May 21 with right shoulder inflammation. He’s gone without a major setback since, but he also hasn’t progressed nearly as the Marlins hoped. He’s just getting back on a mound now, and while the Marlins might have been tempted to try to aim for a late-September return as a reliever if they were still in the race, there’s certainly no point to trying it now.
Johnson, in the second year of a four-year, $39 million contract, will make $13.75 million each of the next two seasons. He’ll probably be worth the money if healthy, but he’s had just one season as a major leaguer in which he’s made 30 starts. He was 3-1 with a 1.64 ERA in nine starts before getting hurt this year.
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.