As we count down the final days before pitchers and catchers report to their respective complexes in Florida and Arizona, teams are currently trying to put the finishing touches on their rosters. The Rangers and Indians are two examples of this, as FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports that both clubs have interest in free agent infielder Ryan Theriot.
Theriot batted .270/.316/.321 with zero homers, 28 RBI and a .637 OPS for the World Champion Giants last season while playing almost exclusively at second base. The 33-year-old mostly functioned as a backup after the Giants acquired Marco Scutaro from the Rockies in July.
Theriot’s starting days are likely behind him, but he wouldn’t be asked to be anything more than middle infield depth in Texas or Cleveland. It’s worth noting that he was also on the Cardinals in 2011 when they won the World Series, so he may have replaced Eric Hinske as baseball’s human good luck charm.
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.