It’s uncommon for managers to begin a season with just one year remaining on their contract, so much so that the name for that is a “lame duck” manager, but that’s exactly what Terry Collins will be doing with the Mets.
General manager Sandy Alderson indicated yesterday on SNY that the team has not discussed a contract extension with Collins, saying:
I think it will only be an issue if Terry makes it an issue or I make it an issue. I hope we don’t let the media make it an issue, although it’s a question that I’m sure will be asked, especially early in spring training. But I’ve talked to Terry. I think he’s comfortable with his situation. And I know that whatever happens this season, there will be a fair evaluation at the end.
“I think it will only be an issue if Terry makes it an issue or I make it an issue” is a pretty amazing bit of GM-speak, really.
As for the other stuff, Alderson can basically be certain that the New York media will constantly ask Collins about it and will probably ask Mets players about it, especially if the team is struggling. But then again if the team is struggling Collins will probably wind up getting fired anyway.
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.