The following report comes from Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe:
Mulder is looking for a creative contract as he makes his comeback attempt. He may have to agree to a minor league deal first, with incentives if he makes the major league club. Mulder has worked out for the Giants, Padres, Diamondbacks, Angels, and Phillies over two sessions. In the second session, Mulder, who hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2008, improved his velocity from 88 to 92 miles per hour. It’s a long road back, but the fact that Mulder’s shoulder is showing no signs of discomfort could mean he’d be a good back-end option for someone.
The Red Sox have “inquired” about the 36-year-old left-hander, writes the Boston-based Cafardo, but “probably won’t pursue him” much further.
Mulder allowed 96 runs — 91 earned — over his final 106 major league innings. But there is very little risk in a non-guaranteed minor league contract, so look for him to wind up in camp with a team next spring.
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.