Jack Wilson has seemingly been the cheap, light-hitting, veteran fallback plan for a handful of teams in the middle infield, but today he agreed to re-sign with the Braves after coming to Atlanta from Seattle in an August 31 trade.
Wilson gets a one-year, $1 million deal and Mark Bowman of MLB.com speculates that he’ll likely serve as the backup to Tyler Pastornicky, the 23-year-old shortstop prospect who’s in line to replace Alex Gonzalez as the Braves’ starter.
Pastornicky hit .314 in 117 games between Double-A and Triple-A last season, but his OPS was a modest .773 thanks to just seven homers and 32 walks. Of course, Wilson hit .243 with a .559 OPS last season, hasn’t cracked a .700 OPS since 2007, and is no longer a standout defender, so if Pastornicky isn’t the Opening Day shortstop it will have more to do with his development than Wilson’s presence.
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.