Alfredo Aceves was asked to eat some innings out of the bullpen Tuesday, but exited after facing just three batters and said afterward that he’s hurt. However, the next day manager John Farrell told reporters: “By all accounts that we have, he is not injured.”
This is just the latest drama in a very tense relationship between Aceves and the Red Sox and this time it led to the veteran right-hander being dropped from the 40-man roster. Aceves passed through waivers unclaimed, as none of the other 29 teams wanted anything to do with his $2.65 million contract, and he accepted the assignment to Triple-A because he wants to keep getting paid that money.
Aceves indicated to Evan Drellich of MassLive.com that he might not pitch again this season because the injury, which he described as a strained oblique muscle. Obviously if the Red Sox could have gotten anything in trade for Aceves they would have done it a long time ago and passing through waivers unclaimed means no teams were even willing to take him for nothing in return. If he’s truly hurt he likely has a legitimate beef about being sent to Triple-A rather than placed on the disabled list, but either way he may have pitched his last game for the Red Sox.
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.