UPDATE: The deal is official.
Phil Mackey of 1500 ESPN reports that Burton will earn $2 million next season and $3.25 million in 2014. The new deal includes a $3.6 million club option for 2015 that can be bought out for $200,000.
4:38 PM: As if the Twins haven’t been busy enough today, Darren Wolfson of 1500ESPN.com reports that they’re close to signing reliever Jared Burton to a contract extension.
Burton signed with the Twins on a minor-league deal last offseason following several injury wrecked years with the Reds and was fantastic in a setup role, throwing 62 innings with a 2.18 ERA and 55/16 K/BB ratio.
He was arbitration eligible for the final time in 2013, but according to Wolfson the extension would cover 2013 and 2014 while giving the Twins an option for 2015.
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.