Not afraid to trade within the division the A’s and Rangers have agreed to a deal that sends 30-year-old center fielder Craig Gentry to Oakland and outfield prospect Michael Choice to Texas, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com.
Gentry is incredibly fast and a fantastic defensive center fielder with a .280 batting average and .355 on-base percentage in 323 career games, although those totals likely overstate his offensive ability because he’s typically been platooned a lot.
Choice was the 10th overall pick in the 2010 draft, ranked as a consensus top-100 prospect coming into this year, and hit .302 with 14 homers and an .835 OPS in 132 games at Triple-A as a 23-year-old.
Between this deal and adding a $10 million closer in Jim Johnson the A’s are clearly in win-now mode.
UPDATE: Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports reports that the A’s will also get right-hander Josh Lindblom and the Rangers will also get minor league infielder Chris Bostick.
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.