San Diego made a surprising move to acquire Carlos Quentin from the White Sox over the weekend and yesterday general manager Josh Byrnes indicated that the Padres will try to extend the 29-year-old outfielder’s contract before he’s eligible for free agency next offseason.
“Our payroll model is setting up well,” Byrnes told Bill Center of the San Diego Union Tribune. “We’re not in total go-for-it mode, but we can make some choices. We acquired Carlos with the thought that we could extend him.”
Padres fans should be encouraged by the willingness to spend some money and keep some players in San Diego, but Quentin is set to make about $7 million this season via arbitration and locking him up long term before seeing how he performs at Petco Park would be a big risk for a player who’s called two hitter-friendly ballparks home in Arizona and Chicago.
For his career Quentin’s home OPS is 100 points higher than his road OPS and his overall production has been good rather than great, so as a right-handed slugger with low batting averages and poor defense he may find it difficult to thrive in the majors’ most pitcher-friendly ballpark.
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.