Earlier this month Cubs prospect Jorge Soler was suspended five games after attempting to attack the opposing team’s dugout while holding a bat and now his own manager has benched him for not hustling.
Single-A Daytona manager Dave Keller told Sean Kernan of the Daytona Beach News Journal that Soler was benched for failing to run hard twice during Saturday’s game:
He sat [Sunday] because within the philosophy and the work ethic that we are trying to create in this organization–and that we are trying to get our players to understand–work ethic, energy, determination, playing hard and running hard is part of the whole program. When you don’t do that, then you don’t get to play. That’s something that has really been emphasized over the last two years.
Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune reports that Keller “has the support of Cubs’ management in his disciplinary measure.”
Soler, who signed a $30 million contract with the Cubs after defecting from Cuba, has hit .276 with two homers and a .785 OPS in 15 games at high Single-A as a 21-year-old.
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.