The Giants have already made it known that they want to bring outfielder Carlos Beltran back for the 2012 season. But they’re going to have some stiff competition for the 34-year-old impending free agent.
Wallace Matthews of ESPN New York heard from sources on Thursday morning that the Yankees are planning to pursue Beltran this winter, and now Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated is reporting that the Red Sox might also have serious interest.
Beltran posted an impressive .300/.385/.525 batting line with 22 home runs, 39 doubles and 84 RBI in 142 games this season between the Mets and Giants, all the while managing to stay mostly healthy.
Beltran is coming off a contract that paid him $18.5 million annually from 2008-2011. He’ll see a sharp dip in salary in his next deal, but having the Yanks and Sawx involved in talks can only help his bottom line.
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.