UPDATE: Rosenthal now says it’s a done deal, with the Cubs sending Garza to the Rangers for Triple-A third base prospect Mike Olt, Single-A pitching prospect C.J. Edwards, MLB right-hander Justin Grimm, and a player to be named later.
Olt was a consensus top-50 prospect coming into the season and Edwards has been unbelievably good at Single-A as a 21-year-old, so regardless of what you think of Grimm’s mid-rotation potential that’s a damn good haul for what’s essentially two months of Garza. And the Rangers have added a frontline starter for a potential playoff run.
With trade rumors swirling Cubs manager Dale Sveum was asked yesterday if Matt Garza would still be around to make his scheduled start tonight and replied: “I’d say 100 percent he’s going to be pitching.”
Sveum then immediately put into question his concept of “100 percent” by adding that “if we get a phone call and something changes, that’s the way it is.” And apparently that’s exactly what happened, because Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that Garza will not start for the Cubs tonight and the long-rumored trade to the Rangers is finally “near.”
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.