Look, you can say you’d prefer Michael Morse to be your starting left fielder, Bruce Bochy. And maybe that’s how it’s gotta be. But it’s not like you don’t have options:
With the Giants’ longtime left-handed batting practice specialist “Cutter John” Yandle on the mound, Bonds had an extended hitting session out of view of observers on the back field at Scottsdale Stadium.
According to Yandle, Bonds hit rope after rope and on his last few swings unloaded some massive blasts into the adjoining neighborhood.
“He looked better than he did before,” Yandle said. “He’s still got the swing down.”
Bonds says he can’t run anymore. But he can hit. Again, that’s one notch above a lot of guys who will play DH and play left field this year.
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.