According to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, U.S. District Court Judge Jed S. Rakoff is expected to issue a ruling as soon as Monday on whether to toss all or part of a $1 billion lawsuit against the owners of the Mets.
Trustee Irving Picard is suing the Wilpons and Saul Katz in an attempt to capture funds for victims of Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. He seeks $300 million in “fictitious profits” and an additional $700 million in principal from the Wilpon family, alleging that they turned a blind eye to the fraudulent activity.
While Rakoff’s ruling is important, it won’t be the final word on the situation. One potential scenario is that he could throw out the $700 million lawsuit, leaving the rest to be decided at a trial set to begin on March 5, 2012. Rakoff’s ruling could ultimately lead the two sides to have more serious talks about a settlement.
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.