With the White Sox bringing up the rear in the AL Central, they are expected to make a plethora of players available over the next month leading up to the July 31 deadline. Among them is outfielder Alex Rios, enjoying an adequate season out of the #3 spot in the White Sox lineup as he carries a .771 OPS entering July. He is earning $12.5 million this year; he will earn another $12.5 million next year and has a $13.5 million club option for 2015 with a $1 million buyout.
Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago says the Rangers, Giants, and D-Backs are three teams showing interest in Rios as the Sox wrap up June.
According to industry sources, Rios has numerous clubs, including Pierzynski’s Texas Rangers, the San Francisco Giants and the Arizona Diamondbacks watching him from city to city right now.
Rios has a limited no-trade clause in his contract that allows him to veto a deal to six teams. That said, if a contender comes calling he will most likely waive his no-trade rights.
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.