Mike Pelfrey is out for the season following Tommy John surgery and the Mets’ various options to replace him in the rotation aren’t very appealing, but general manager Sandy Alderson made it very clear that the team isn’t going to call up any of its top pitching prospects for a short-term fix.
Zack Wheeler, who was acquired from the Giants in the Carlos Beltran trade, is 21 years old at Double-A and currently sidelined by a finger injury.
Matt Harvey, who was the Mets’ first-round pick in 2010, is 23 years old at Triple-A and currently sporting a 4.80 ERA through six starts.
And his Triple-A rotation-mate, 22-year-old Jeurys Familia, has a 5.06 ERA with 25 walks in 27 innings.
In other words, even if Alderson had a different stance on the rotation situation and wanted to call one of them up they aren’t ready to thrive in the majors right now anyway. And realistic Mets fans should be happy that Alderson is taking the long-term view after the previous regime so often needlessly rushed prospects with predictably poor results.
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.