After agreeing to a three-year, $12 million deal with the Phillies in late August, Cuban right-hander Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez spoke to the media for the first time Thursday at the team’s spring training complex in Clearwater.
While Gonzalez was originally expected to sign a six-year, $48 million contract with the Phillies, the deal was reworked amid concerns about the health of his throwing elbow. The 27-year-old offered a “no comment” to Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com on why the deal fell through, but he had bone chips removed from his elbow in January of 2012. The Phillies are taking things slow with his throwing program, but minor-league pitching coordinator Carlos Arroyo said that Gonzalez is healthy.
Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. told reporters that scouts view Gonzalez as a potential No. 2 or 3 starter down the road. As of now, Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee are the only sure things for the starting rotation going into 2014, but Amaro hopes that Gonzalez will join them.
Here’s a look at some video of the Phillies’ newest pitcher, courtesy of CSNPhilly.com:
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.