It was announced yesterday that the Marlins lost their arbitration hearing to right-hander Anibal Sanchez, but the club went right back at it today, this time stating their case against Emilio Bonifacio.
Bonifacio, who is arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter, requested $2.2 million and was offered $1.95 million from the Marlins when arbitration figures were exchanged last month. According to Joe Frisaro of MLB.com, the three-person panel of arbitrators could render a decision on the player’s 2012 salary as soon as tomorrow.
Bonifacio, who turns 27 in April, is coming off a career-year in which he batted .296/.360/.393 with five home runs, 36 RBI, 40 stolen bases and a .753 OPS while making starts at third base, second base, shortstop and all three outfield positions. He is expected to open this season as the Marlins’ starting center fielder.
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.