I get piling on old Bobby Valentine all winter. The bad season still lingers. You have to assess what happened until at least the Winter Meetings, and then you have to talk about all the new moves with reference to why they were necessary in the first place. But you’d think that when the new spring training began that the blame game from 2012 would be over. For it not to be is a special kind of madness.
Madness? THIS IS BOSTON:
David Ortiz never mentioned him by name, but on Tuesday blamed former manager Bobby Valentine for many of the problems plaguing the last-place Boston Red Sox last season.
“A lot of players had a lot of issues with our manager last year,’’ said Ortiz, responding to a question whether the club, which finished 69-93 last season, needed to improve its character. “We have a new manager this year, a guy who is familiar with the organization, a guy we pretty much grew up around him. That’s John [Farrell].
Ortiz goes into more specifics, but there’s really nothing we haven’t heard before. Tone. Incidents from last year’s spring training. Ortiz has a legit beef about Valentine questioning whether he was able to come back after his injury last year, but for the most part this seems like warmed over oatmeal.
It’s a new year. Valentine is gone. Look forward, right?
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.