Yesterday we heard that, in the event that the Tigers came calling about Jimmy Rollins, the veteran shortstop would not waive his 10-5 rights in order to make a deal happen. Buster Olney reports this morning that this could be more than a hypothetical situation:
Whether this is about general team construction or whether this is about Rollins’ recent dustup with Ryne Sandberg is unclear. But either way it spells trouble. You don’t want to start the season with difficult-to-negotiate issues like the desire to trade a possibly untradable veteran. It creates problems for the players and managers in that they’ll be asked about it all the time. It bums fans out because it sends the signal, before Opening Day even starts, that the team itself is not happy with its construction.
Just not the way the Phillies want to be heading into the season.
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.