According to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun Times the Cubs “already have expressed interest in” Brandon McCarthy and “another buy-low candidate the Cubs are eyeing” is Shaun Marcum.
General manager Jed Hoyer indicated that the Cubs will probably try to sign some veterans to reasonably priced one- or two-year deals, like they did last offseason with Paul Maholm and David DeJesus.
Whether or not health-related question marks are enough to drop McCarthy or Marcum into that sort of contract range remains to be seen, but Hoyer called the short-term, bounce-back deals “a good model of contract that really served us well.”
It’s no surprise that the Cubs are pursuing veteran starting pitching on the free agent market considering they nearly acquired Dan Haren from the Angels for Carlos Marmol before that deal fell apart at the last minute.
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.