Per ESPN’s Jesse Rogers, starter Jeff Samardzija and the Cubs have agreed on a $5.345 million salary for 2014, avoiding arbitration.
Samardzija had filed for $6.2 million while the Cubs filed for $4.4 million. Their agreed-upon salary is ever so slightly above the $5.30 million midpoint between the figures submitted by the two sides.
Samardzija’s future with the Cubs is still up in the air. The right-hander will be eligible for arbitration for the third and final time next off-season and he will be eligible for free agency after the 2015 season. The two sides were reportedly far apart on an extension last month.
The Cubs have now settled all four of their arbitration cases. They agreed to a $3.9 million salary with starter Travis Wood on January 24, $2 million with outfielder Justin Ruggiano on January 29, and $2.3 million with second baseman Darwin Barney on February 6.
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.