In 20 trips to the dish, Reds outfielder Billy Hamilton is hitting .389 with two walks and 13 stolen bases in 14 attempts. A small sample for sure, but he’s about as automatic to steal second base as it gets these days. In a short series where offense is at a premium, that kind of a tool could certainly come in handy.
The Reds, however, aren’t so sure, reports John Fay.
“We taking it one step at a time,” Jocketty said. “You look at the Wild Card game first. You focus on what you need to do for Tuesday because you can change it.
“We’ve got a pretty good idea what we’re going to do.”
For Tuesday’s game, only one or two of the 25 spots will go to starting pitchers.
“Obviously, it will change for NLDS,” Jocketty said.
The Reds have already wrapped up one of the two National League Wild Card slots. With a Cardinals victory or a Pirates loss, they will be matching up with the Pirates in the Wild Card play-in game. Fay says he would be stunned if the Reds don’t add Hamilton to their post-season roster, which can be changed between the play-in game and prior to the NLDS.
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.