Tampa Bay Rays v New York Yankees

Brian Cashman is “not comfortable anymore” talking to Alex Rodriguez

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Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger that he is “not comfortable anymore” talking to Alex Rodriguez given the litigious nature of the third baseman’s interactions with the club lately. Rodriguez’s lawyers recently filed a grievance over the team’s medical treatment of Rodriguez dating back to the post-season last year. Cashman defended the medical staff and expressed shock at the entire situation, saying, “We’ve never had anything like this. This is my 16th year. I’ve never seen anything like this.”

More, from McCullough’s column:

“If you all remember, last year, just let’s turn the clock back again. We enter the playoffs. He finally gets healthy from the broken wrist. I think you guys – not us – you guys, the media, asked him how he feels going into the playoffs. He said he felt the best he’s ever felt, or something to that effect, correct?

[…]

“We have a whole level of medical staff. We have team doctors. We have team trainers. We have a strength and conditioning coach. We have chiropractors. All of which get their hands on this guy. All of which he interacts with, every single one of them has their own level of dedications with each off our players, that they provide services for. And they’re all the same. No complaints. Nothing.”

Cashman added that the entire situation involving Rodriguez is “definitely a distraction” and called it “frustrating”.

After this season, Rodriguez will still have four years and $86 million left on his contract extension signed in December 2007. Currently at 648 career home runs, he can earn an extra $6 million by reaching 660 home runs. His ability to hit 12 more home runs is highly in doubt as Major League Baseball levied a 211-game suspension against him for his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal, which he is currently appealing.

Report: Phillies close to signing Joaquin Benoit

ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 15:  Joaquin Benoit #53 of the Toronto Blue Jays pitches during the seventh inning of a game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim  at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 15, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images
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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.

Report: The new collective bargaining agreement reduces players’ meal money

ADVANCE FOR WEEKEND EDITIONS, JAN. 18-19 - This Jan. 15, 2014 photo showing new baseball union head Tony Clark during an interview at the organization's headquarters, in New York. Clark has big shoes to fill _ and not just as Michael Weiner's replacement as head of the baseball players' union. Moving from Arizona to New Jersey, the former big league All-Star also needed to find size 15 snowshoes.  (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
AP Photo/Richard Drew
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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.