I find it kind of odd that the Astros are already conducting a managerial search given that it’s over a month and a half before they can talk to everyone who might be a candidate (i.e. playoff teams don’t want their coaches going out on interviews in October). That said, including people in that search who have known success in Houston is a good idea:
[Craig] Biggio, a special assistant to general manager Jeff Luhnow, is involved in the interview process to find a full-time manager.
“I’m honored and excited about it,” he said. “I’ve been part of this organization for a long period of time and they trust my judgment and my decision-making. I’m honored to be part of this process.”
Those of us old enough to remember when Biggio broke in remember that the Astros were kind of a mess back then. He saw them rebuild. He saw them make it to the World Series. He was around for good managers and bad. Institutional knowledge is pretty important.
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.