That’s the feeling FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal is getting from talking with executives around the league. Although reports have suggested that free agent Hiroki Kuroda could return to SoCal with the Dodgers or maybe even the Angels, Rosenthal says indications are that Kuroda will remain with the Yankees or head home to Japan.
Kuroda, who was content to sign one-year deals in his first two goes at free agency, may prefer a two-year deal this time. Even though he’ll pitch next season at 38, Kuroda seems like a good investment for two years. He’s averaged over 200 innings the last three years, and his ERAs have ranged from 3.07 to 3.39 during the stretch.
Kuroda won a career-high 16 games last season, his first in New York. If the Yankees can keep him for $30 million for two years, he’ll still look like a bargain compared to the likely $22 million-$25 million per year that Zack Greinke figures to get.
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.