April isn’t even over yet and Cubs manager Dale Sveum is already getting the dreaded public vote of confidence from general manager Jed Hoyer.
With the Cubs off to a 6-13 start and Sveum making odd comments about possibly sending Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo to the minors Hoyer told reporters: “He’s got our full support. We’re all in this together.”
Here’s a little more, via Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com:
It’s been painful to watch because we keep on squandering leads. That’s on Theo [Epstein] and that’s on me. We look at it and we have to figure out ways to get better. We’re not the most talented team in the league right now. We’re trying to build to get there.
But as we get there, we can’t continue to make the kind of mistakes we’ve been making. We have to clean it up. We have to get better. That’s on us. Dale has our complete support. [Job security is] not what he should be thinking about in the least.
There’s certainly enough room for connecting the dots to say the “we have to clean it up” stuff applies to Sveum and his coaching staff, but you can watch the CSNChicago.com video of Hoyer and judge for yourself.
Sveum is 67-114 (.370) as Cubs manager.
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.