The Cardinals were said to have interest in executing a trade for Angels shortstop Erick Aybar on Tuesday, but those talks apparently fell apart.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Angels no longer expect to trade Aybar by today’s 4 p.m. ET non-waiver deadline. Anaheim reportedly asked for one of the Cardinals’ top two pitching prospects — Carlos Martinez or Michael Wacha — in return for Aybar and were swiftly turned down.
Aybar is under contract through 2016 and the Angels don’t have a major league-ready replacement for him at short. The 29-year-old has batted .278/.306/.380 with four home runs and 38 RBI in 83 games played this season.
UPDATE, 2:45 PM: FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal says the Angels also expect to keep Howie Kendrick.
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.