Two sources told FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal that Rays bench coach Dave Martinez is the White Sox’s preferred choice to replace Ozzie Guillen in dugout.
It’s not a surprise, as Martinez’s name was one of the first to come up when Guillen’s departure was announced. A 16-year major leaguer, Martinez played with the White Sox from 1995-97.
Martinez could also be a candidate to replace Terry Francona in Boston, though it’s unclear if the Red Sox are as high on him as the White Sox are.
One of Rosenthal’s sources said that former Royals manager Tony Pena, currently the bench coach for the Yankees, is also on the White Sox’s list.
Martinez, 47, has spent the last three seasons as Tampa Bay’s bench coach. He hit .274/.341/.389 with 91 homers and 183 steals with 10 major league teams before retiring after the 2001 season.
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.