David Schoenfield is one of my favorite baseball writers, but I saw this in his latest post and just can’t agree:
The more I think about the report out of Miami, the more I think we’ve seen the last of Alex Rodriguez in a major league uniform.
Schoenfield is not the only one to say this today. Several writers — many who should probably know better — have declared A-Rod’s career over today. And I simply do not see how we get from here to there via any reasonable path.
As I noted earlier today, the Yankees are not going to void A-Rod’s deal. If they try it won’t work so they probably won’t even try. That leaves A-Rod with five years and $114 million left on his contract. He’s not walking away from that.
What might happen? He may get suspended for 50 games, after which he would come back. He may — if the Yankees simply get totally disgusted and hysterical about things — get released. In which case 29 teams can have Alex Rodriguez’s services for the league minimum. Back to Schoenfield:
When he was on the field last year for the 122 games he played in the regular season, Rodriguez was still reasonably productive, hitting .272/.353/.430.
That, I think, is the alpha and omega here. It’s not anywhere close to being worth his contract, but it’s quite useful from someone making almost no money. He’s not some monumental flake like Manny Ramirez. If healthy, he even has some defensive value. Someone would take a chance on him. The only factor would be the strength of his hip, not his status as a media pariah.
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.