Fun Fact: Ryan Howard will make more than Albert Pujols this year. And next year. And the year after that. And the year after that. The year after that one — 2016 — they’ll make the same.
Secondary fun fact: Ryan Howard will make more than Prince Fielder every single year until 2017, at which point Howard’s option will likely be declined and he’ll be a free agent again. In no single season of his nine-year deal will Prince Fielder make as much as Howard will make for 2014, 2015 and 2016.
But it’s OK, because Ruben Amaro is just fine with it:
“I’m kind of happy,” Amaro said. “Really happy because if I would’ve had to put eight or nine years on Howard’s deal right now, that would be a little disconcerting. Right now we have Howard for the next five years. I kind of like that rather than giving an eight-, nine- or 10-year deal.”
Honestly, though: would anyone not prefer Prince Fielder or Albert Pujols on their new 9/10 year deals over Ryan Howard on the five-year deal that kicks in starting this season? If given the choice right now — even assuming that Howard wasn’t coming off a torn Achilles. which he is — wouldn’t you rather take either of the other two on the longer deals? I sure would.
I know Amaro can’t say that, of course, because of the politics of it all. But man.
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.