There’s been some speculation that the Tigers will fire Jim Leyland if they don’t make the playoffs, and yesterday the 67-year-old manager told reporters that he hasn’t talked about his contract status with the team and doesn’t want to until the season is over:
Here’s more from Leyland, via Anthony Odoardi of MLB.com:
I don’t think about that. I think about beating Oakland. That’s not going to have any effect on me. I think about beating the Oakland Athletics tonight and get into the playoffs. That situation will take care of itself at the proper time, and now, obviously, is not the proper time.
If I had information for you, I would give it to you, but I have none. I haven’t discussed my situation with anyone nor has my situation been discussed with me. And I don’t want to discuss my situation with anyone nor do they want to discuss it with me right now. We’re trying to win a division.
Leyland’s contract status was actually a popular topic way back in spring training, when he discussed it with reporters on March 30 and then ended the media session by saying: “But that’s the end of that stuff for the whole year. I’m not talking about that.”
And that’s mostly been true. Until now, at least.
This is Leyland’s seventh season as Tigers manager and his record with Detroit is 597-523 (.533) with two playoff appearances, including an American League title in 2006. This year, however, the Tigers were picked to win the AL Central by just about everyone and instead sit 3.0 games back of the White Sox at 78-69 for the league’s seventh-best record.
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.