Rusty Staub

“Why don’t you think there are more major leaguers with red hair?”

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Earlier today, just before taping HBT Daily, Kay Adams and I were talking about redheads. You’ll have to ask her why the subject came up in the first place but know that it involved a bet, a wig and a lot of come-ons. I’m awfully glad I’m a dude.

Anyway, we discussed that thing about how, biologically speaking, redheads are selected against. Which was a hoax, by the way, but it’s the sort of thing that rattles around in one’s brain after one hears it. I mean, the thing about gingers having no soul is scientifically proven, so I sort of assumed the thing about them being selected against was too.

Anyway, maybe there is one place they really are selected against: the baseball diamond. At least that’s what Astros GM Jeff Luhnow wondered aloud to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com, who investigated the matter.

Crasnick’s conclusions: there aren’t a lot of redheads in the world to begin with so there aren’t likely to be as many readheaded ballplayers. That said, there are a lot of notable redheaded ballplayers, and Crasnick names a great many of them. And either way, there are still some weird old scouts in baseball and in football who have a prejudice against redheads because, man, I have no idea but that’s pretty dumb.

At least we can all agree on the no-souls thing, yes?

Report: Phillies close to signing Joaquin Benoit

ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 15:  Joaquin Benoit #53 of the Toronto Blue Jays pitches during the seventh inning of a game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim  at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 15, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images
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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.

Report: The new collective bargaining agreement reduces players’ meal money

ADVANCE FOR WEEKEND EDITIONS, JAN. 18-19 - This Jan. 15, 2014 photo showing new baseball union head Tony Clark during an interview at the organization's headquarters, in New York. Clark has big shoes to fill _ and not just as Michael Weiner's replacement as head of the baseball players' union. Moving from Arizona to New Jersey, the former big league All-Star also needed to find size 15 snowshoes.  (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
AP Photo/Richard Drew
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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.