Lana Berry made a great, albeit depressing observation during the Rays-Angels game last night:
holy s***. Rays played Josh Lueke, Delmon Young, Luke Scott, and Yunel Escobar in the same game. they are really just…going for it, huh?
And by “going for it” she means the good citizen award. Lueke, as most know by now, is a sex offender. Young had his little drunken anti-semitic incident in New York. Yunel Escobar you may know from his homophobic eye black. Luke Scott is baseball’s most famous birther who keeps guns in his couch cushions and once cautioned a black teammate from acting like a “savage” and an “animal.”
Quite a group of citizens on the Rays these days. Makes me wish that old Devil Rays prospect Elijah Dukes and Toe Nash were on the club as elder statesmen. Also makes me wonder which baseball team had the greatest number of criminals, knuckleheads and controversy-creators on the roster at the same time. I guess it depends on whether you consider the early-80s Pirates cocaine use a character issue or one in which guys were afflicted with addiction.
The Rays are certainly something, though.
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.