FOXSports.com’s Jon Paul Morosi reports that the Twins are set to designate Jason Marquis for assignment after he gave up eight runs in 1 2/3 innings Sunday against the Brewers.
Marquis, 33, is 2-4 with an 8.47 ERA in eight starts since signing a one-year, $3 million deal with Minnesota. His only two quality starts came against AL lightweights Kansas City and Seattle, and he has a 12/14 K/BB ratio in 34 innings.
It was a surprise that any AL teams considered Marquis over the winter given his subpar stuff and poor history in interleague games. He had a 5.50 ERA against AL teams during his NL career.
With Marquis’s Twins tenure apparently over, the team could consider moving Francisco Liriano back to the rotation as a replacement. It seems kind of soon to start jerking him around again already, though. Middle reliever Anthony Swarzak would seem to be the more likely rotation candidate. Triple-A Rochester’s Cole DeVries is another possibility.
As for Marquis, a return to the NL seems like a given. The Cubs could have some interest in bringing him back.
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.