The Royals wanted to clear a 40-man roster spot in advance of Thursday’s Rule 5 draft and did so Wednesday night by trading infielder Yamaico Navarro to the Pirates for prospects Brooks Pounders and Diego Goris.
Navarro was the youngster the Royals picked up from the Red Sox for Mike Aviles over the summer. The 23-year-old has hit .206/.250/.265 in 102 major league at-bats, just 23 of which came with Kansas City. Stretched defensively at shortstop and offensively anywhere else, he projects as a decent utilityman but probably nothing more.
Pounders, a big right-hander drafted in the second round in 2009, finished with a 3.68 ERA and a 72/14 K/BB ratio in 66 innings for low Single-A West Virginia last season. Goris, a 2o-year-old infielder, has yet to play in the U.S. He hit .350/.387/.511 against younger competition in his fourth year in the Dominican Summer League.
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.