No deals of note have happened yet, but Andy Martino of the Daily News reports that one team has been blowin’ up other teams’ cell phones:
One rival executive said that while trade talk around the league remains mostly quiet and preliminary, as is typical with more than a month to go before the deadline, Washington has emerged as the most aggressive team. “They’re calling everybody, trying to do something,” the exec said. “They’re looking for pitching, and they’re being really aggressive.”
Martino notes that Ricky Nolasco is being made available by the Marlins. While inter-divisional trades are rare, one gets the sense that Miami doesn’t really care about such things if it means moving veterans.
Martino has some other notes about teams who may be competing with the Nats for pitching depth. Check it out.
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.