Zack Greinke

Orioles “going hard” after Brewers ace Zack Greinke

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There will be no shortage of teams interested in Zack Greinke if the Brewers make him available before the July 31 trade deadline and Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports that the Orioles are already “going hard” after the former Cy Young winner.

Connolly spoke to a an unnamed MLB executive from a non-Baltimore team and writes that “the Orioles appear to be the most aggressive suitor” for Greinke, although it’s not a guarantee that the Brewers end up trading him if they can get a long-term contract extension done in the next couple weeks.

Baltimore can certainly use the rotation help, as Jason Hammel and Wei-Yin Chen have been the Orioles’ only dependable starters and yet they’re still in second place in the AL East at 44-38.

Any trade would presumably have to bring back more value to the Brewers than a pair of draft picks, which they could get as compensation for Greinke leaving as a free agent. He’s making $13.5 million in the final year of a deal signed with the Royals and is 25-8 with a 3.54 ERA in 45 starts for the Brewers since they parted with Jake Odorizzi, Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar, and Jeremy Jeffress to get him in December of 2010.

Baltimore has a pair of truly elite prospects in Dylan Bundy and Manny Machado, but the Orioles would be crazy to make either available for a half-season of Greinke and Connolly speculates that they may lack the second-tier prospects to entire the Brewers.

Report: Phillies close to signing Joaquin Benoit

ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 15:  Joaquin Benoit #53 of the Toronto Blue Jays pitches during the seventh inning of a game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim  at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 15, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images
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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.

Report: The new collective bargaining agreement reduces players’ meal money

ADVANCE FOR WEEKEND EDITIONS, JAN. 18-19 - This Jan. 15, 2014 photo showing new baseball union head Tony Clark during an interview at the organization's headquarters, in New York. Clark has big shoes to fill _ and not just as Michael Weiner's replacement as head of the baseball players' union. Moving from Arizona to New Jersey, the former big league All-Star also needed to find size 15 snowshoes.  (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
AP Photo/Richard Drew
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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.