It’s the night for apologies, apparently. Jack Morris apologized to Clay Buchholz earlier; now, we have Roy Halladay apologizing to Phillies fans for having pitched poorly and ultimately landing on the disabled list for a lengthy period of time.
Halladay was booed walking off the field in the third inning of his start against the Marlins on May 5 after surrendering nine runs, the final four on a grand slam to Adeiny Hechavarria. He received further criticism from fans after it was revealed he had pitched despite feeling shoulder discomfort.
Via Matt Gelb:
“I’ve been thinking just the last couple of days,” Halladay said. “I just felt like I should address the fans. I know there is a lot of mixed opinions on pitching, not pitching, all that kind of stuff. I know there are people who are disappointed about how I pitched the last two years. I know there are a lot of people who are very supportive.
“So, one, I just wanted to thank them for their support. And my heart goes out to all of the people who spend all of their money and go out to the games and don’t get to see what they want to see. I know I’m not the whole team. There are still a lot of guys out there and it’s a fun team to watch. But I feel bad that I’m missing the time that I am. I feel bad for the fans that I’m missing the time.
In 34.1 innings across seven starts, Halladay had an 8.65 ERA which would have been the worst mark in baseball if not for Phil Humber. The right-hander is expected to miss most of the season as he will undergo arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder. Halladay himself is confident he will be able to come back and contribute before the end of the regular season.
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.