Not long after he was hired as the Cardinals’ replacement for Tony La Russa in the dugout, it was reported that Mike Matheny was in serious debt due to bad real estate deals that cost him his 17-room home in Missouri.
14 months later, Matheny was still fighting over just how much he owes the Business Bank of St. Louis, but he lost his case today in front of Judge Tom DePriest, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.
It was reported last year that Matheny might owe more than $4 million after he stopped making payments on land he and a business partner bought. No financial details came out of today’s judgment, though. That matter will be settled during a March 13 hearing.
Matheny made nearly $20 million in a major league career that came to a close in 2006. He sold his home for $1.9 million in 2010 prior to its foreclosure. $1 million of that went to the Business Bank, which claimed that Matheny owed $10.2 million. While his annual salary from managing the Cardinals was never disclosed, Matheny likely makes somewhere between $1 million-$1.5 million per year.
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.