Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina made an early exit from Tuesday night’s 6-0 loss to the Pirates with what is being labeled a right knee sprain. He is back in St. Louis on Wednesday for an MRI, which is expected to yield a more exact diagnosis.
It’s probably safe to assume the injury is serious.
According to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the Cardinals have suddenly changed course and are looking to add a new catcher before the 4 p.m. ET trade deadline. Tony Cruz and Rob Johnson are the current options behind the plate for St. Louis.
Molina, 31, is widely regarded as the best defensive catcher in baseball and was batting .330/.374/.479 with eight home runs and 54 RBI through 98 games this season. He’s irreplaceable, but the Cards will try.
It’s probably worth noting that Kelly Shoppach just opted out of his contract with the Nationals.
The Cardinals are currently 1 1/2 games back of the Pirates in the National League Central standings.
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.