Negotiations between the Cubs and Red Sox regarding compensation for Theo Epstein are getting pretty complicated, but it’s possible they could clash again later this offseason.
Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com paints a scenario where the clubs could compete for managerial candidates, naming Hall of Famer and Cubs legend Ryne Sandberg in particular.
Epstein attempted to hire Sandberg to manage Boston’s Triple-A affiliate in Pawtucket before he joined the Phillies’ organization last year and now that Jim Hendry is no longer with the Cubs’ organization, he would be a natural and popular choice to replace Mike Quade as skipper. It sounds far-fetched that he would choose the Red Sox over the Cubs if given the opportunity, but Rosenthal notes that Boston is likely to have interest, as new GM Ben Cherington was also involved in the pursuit of Sandberg last year.
This could all be rendered moot if Epstein or Cherington decides to go with a candidate with previous managerial experience in the major leagues, but it’s a fun scenario to think about on a quiet Saturday afternoon.
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.