Joel Pineiro just completed a two-year, $16 million contract with the Angels, but he posted a 5.13 ERA in 146 innings last season and Jayson Stark of ESPN.com reports that he’s had to settle for a minor-league deal with the Phillies.
No official announcement has been made yet, but according to Stark the contract includes an invitation to spring training.
Even if Pineiro had zero big-league contracts on the table choosing the Phillies is an odd decision, as they have a fully stocked rotation and a sixth starter, Kyle Kendrick, under contract for $3.5 million despite likely being bullpen bound. Of course, the fact that guys like Pineiro are available for non-guaranteed minor-league contracts is also why giving $3.5 million to guys like Kendrick is such an iffy move in itself.
Pineiro had shoulder problems last season and a minuscule strikeout rate has made it tough for him to maintain a good performance year-to-year, but he induces plenty of ground balls and has a 4.06 ERA in 512 innings during the past three seasons.
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.