Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports that the Orioles have received permission from the Dodgers to interview assistant general manager De Jon Watson for their vacant general manager position.
Watson, 45, has worked with the Dodgers for the past five seasons, including the last four as the head of player development. He interviewed last year for the Diamondbacks’ GM post, a job which eventually went to Kevin Towers.
The Orioles have already interviewed Diamondbacks senior vice president Jerry Dipoto and Blue Jays assistant general manager Tony LaCava. Connolly writes that the O’s may talk to a few more people after Watson, though it’s believed they have yet to ask permission to interview any other candidates. Rangers assistant general manager Thad Levine has been mentioned as a possibility, but the Orioles will likely need to wait until after the World Series in order to speak with him.
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.