CSN Chicago’s JJ Stankevitz worked it all out; if the new 10-team playoffs had been the standard since the wild card was introduced in 1995, the Dodgers, Giants and Mariners all would have reached the postseason an additional four times during the span.
The Red Sox, who made the postseason in nine of the 17 seasons anyway, would have been the AL’s second wild card in three of the remaining eight seasons.
For the Dodgers, it would have meant 10 postseason appearances instead of six. The Giants would have made it nine times. The Mariners’ postseason count would have doubled from four to eight.
Getting in an extra two times apiece would have been the Angels, Astros, Athletics, Indians, Padres and White Sox.
Stankevitz has the full rundown of what the playoff series would have looked like over at CSN Chicago.
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.