A.J. Burnett said during spring training that he was considering retiring after the 2013 season. Six months later, he’s still thinking about the possibility.
According to Karen Price of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Burnett said yesterday that retirement has been in the back of his mind all season and that he’s “50-50” on whether to return in 2014. The 36-year-old indicated that he should have a better idea about the next step depending upon on things play out in October.
“I do want to go out with a bang, and I do want to go out a Pirate,” said Burnett, who will start Saturday against Cincinnati in the Pirates’ second-to-last home game of the regular season.
Burnett has revitalized his career since coming over from the Yankees, posting a 3.47 ERA in 59 starts over the past two seasons. Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said that the club has interest in bringing him back, but he should receive lucrative offers from multiple teams if he decides to continue his career.
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.