Angels starter Joe Blanton has the third-worst ERA in baseball at 5.66. That, and a recent confrontation with pitching coach Mike Butcher, are reasons the Angels are looking to remove him from the rotation.
Via MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez and William Boor:
“We’re working on a couple things now,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “We’re going to see where we are and we’ll have a decision.”
“Joe has put every effort into trying to be the pitcher he can be,” Scioscia said. “Right now, it’s very clear he is struggling with some of the basic things he needs to do to be that pitcher.”
Blanton is scheduled to start on Saturday in Oakland against the Athletics. The Angels are in a tough spot since they don’t have many options to jump into the rotation and contribute on a long-term basis. And they’re not in a position where they want to trade for a pitcher considering their record and standing as it pertains to the AL West and Wild Card races.
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.