UPDATE: Not so fast, apparently. Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors reports that the Yomiuri Giants have been in contact with Hermida, but no contract has actually be signed.
Jeremy Hermida was once a top prospect for the Marlins, ranking fourth on Baseball America‘s list of the best prospects in the game back in 2006, but he never developed beyond a decent role player and now he’s headed to Japan at age 27.
Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker passes along a Japanese report that Hermida has signed with the Yomiuri Giants, who this year had former major leaguers Brian Bannister, Seth Greisinger, Jonathan Albaladejo, Michael Nakamura, Alex Ramirez, Rusty Ryal, and Josh Fields on their roster.
Hermida spent most of this season at Triple-A in the Reds’ system, hitting .319 with17 homers and a .924 OPS in 105 games, and also played 30 games in the majors with Cincinnati and San Diego. He’s a career .257 hitter with a .749 OPS, so there certainly could be a place for him as a part-time player on a lot of teams, but Hermida can make more money in Japan and has a chance to become a star there while he’s still relatively young.
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.