USA TODAY’s Bob Nightengale tweets the following:
Rival teams are predicting that the Rangers will be the winners in the [Yu] Darvish derby, with every scout predicting stardom.
It’s certainly an interesting thought. Once the posting fee is factored in, Darvish figures to be about as expensive as the Rangers’ own free-agent-to-be, C.J. Wilson, and if that’s the case, one wonders if Texas would truly gamble on the unknown over the known. Judging by his success in Japan and his legitimate major league arsenal, Darvish should be even better than Wilson. However, the transition from pitching once a week to once every five days could be a stumbling block, much as it seemed to be for Daisuke Matsuzaka.
Anyway, it should be fascinating to watch. The Yankees and Red Sox, having lost big on Japanese starters in the past, could value Wilson over Darvish while Wilson’s own team puts Darvish on a pedestal.
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.