UPDATE: Darvish says he was just joking around about the Tanaka comments and apparently both Darvish and his interpreter were laughing as he said the quotes, although as you can see below that bit of context was oddly left out by several reporters on hand.
Yu Darvish was asked today what he thought of the Yankees signing Masahiro Tanaka out of Japan for $155 million and his answer is sure to fire up a lot of New Yorkers:
By comparison, Darvish got $56 million to sign with the Rangers two offseason ago, but Texas also had to send his old team in Japan another $51.7 million in posting fees. In two years in the majors he’s thrown 401 innings with a 3.34 ERA, including a league-leading 277 strikeouts and a 2.83 ERA in 210 innings last season.
Which is why when Darvish also said today that his success–and the success of several other prominent Japanese pitchers recently–helped get Tanaka a bigger contract he’s no doubt right.
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.