The early word was that Manny Machado wouldn’t need surgery after his scary knee injury with a week left in the season, but he has decided to go ahead and have reconstructive surgery on his MPFL, which will sideline him for 4-6 months.
The medial patellofemoral ligament, which stabilizes the kneecap, was damaged when Machado suffered a dislocated patella awkwardly stepping on the bag at first base. Machado could have come back without the surgery, but this will reduce the chances of future dislocations.
The news makes Machado iffy for the start of spring training, but he should still be ready for Opening Day if everything goes well.
The 21-year-old Machado hit .283/.314/.432 with 51 doubles and 14 homers in 156 games before going down this year. He’s likely to be announced as the AL’s Gold Glove third baseman for his spectacular play at the hot corner.
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.