Having lost Dan Uggla to eye surgery and Tyler Pastornicky to a torn ACL, the Braves are now prowling the waiver wire for a second baseman as they prepare for the post-season. David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweeted this earlier:
Uggla was having the worst season of his career before he opted to have LASIK surgery, holding a .696 OPS and -0.4 WAR according to Baseball Reference. Pastornicky has not played much this season and was in the second game of his most recent stint in the big leagues before suffering the torn ACL.
Second base is not a position of excess, especially after the Phillies recently locked up Chase Utley for another two years, and the Royals acquired Jamey Carroll and Emilio Bonifacio. The Rays recently released Ryan Roberts, so he could be one option. In the meantime, the Braves have called up Phil Gosselin and put Paul Janish in the lineup at second base tonight.
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.