Alex Rodriguez made headlines yesterday when he stormed out of his arbitration hearing and vented with Mike Francesa on WFAN Radio, but his case against MLB ended with little fanfare this afternoon.
Rodriguez stayed true to his word and was not in attendance at MLB headquarters today, but his lawyers were still present. While there was some thought that the hearing would end tomorrow, the New York Daily News reports that it has concluded a day early. The next step calls for independent arbitrator Fredric Horowitz to make a ruling on whether A-Rod’s 211-game suspension will be upheld. According to Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports, he has up to 25 days to decide.
Of course, A-Rod’s team is already looking past Horowitz’s ruling and toward a possible date with MLB in federal court. In other words, this fight is far from over.
UPDATE: Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports now hears that Horowitz is not required to make a decision within 25 days, so a ruling might not come until after the holidays.
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.