Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports that Peter O’Malley has withdrawn his bid to reacquire the Dodgers. O’Malley, whose family owned the franchise for 47 years until selling to NewsCorp in 1998, was partially backed by South Korean conglomerate E-Land.
O’Malley was one of 11 bidders who made it through the first round of the process, but Shaikin hears that O’Malley was concerned he might not win the bidding even if he made the highest offer. This could have something to do with O’Malley previously slamming outgoing owner Frank McCourt in the press.
The 10 groups remaining in the bidding are expected to submit new offers this week. McCourt faces an April 30 deadline to sell the team and has agreed to identify a specific buyer by April 1. The sale is expected to fetch an MLB record price tag in excess of $1 billion.
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.