The Pirates shifted rotation mainstays Paul Maholm and Kevin Correia to the 60-day disabled list on Tuesday, officially bringing their seasons to an end.
Maholm went on the DL on Aug. 20 with a left shoulder strain after going 6-14 with a 3.66 ERA in 26 starts, leaving the Pirates with a tough decision to make this winter. His option for 2012 is worth $9.75 million, which seems excessive for a guy who is 53-73 lifetime. Maholm, though, had a career-best ERA this year, and he had made at least 29 starts in each of his previous five full seasons. He’d likely land a multiyear deal as a free agent if the Pirates let him go.
Correia, a surprise All-Star, ended his year 12-11 with a 4.79 ERA. He’s been sidelined since Aug. 19 with a strained oblique muscle. Correia was 7-4 with a 3.44 ERA after two months, but he faded fast from there and went 1-5 over his last eight starts.
The Pirates made the moves today to help create room for callups. Brought back to the majors were third baseman Pedro Alvarez, left-hander Aaron Thompson and left-hander Daniel Moskos. Left-hander Jeff Locke and right-hander Jared Hughes will make their major league debuts.
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.