As first relayed by Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pirates top pitching prospect Jameson Taillon needs Tommy John reconstructive surgery on his right elbow. The procedure will be performed this week by Dr. David Altchek at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York and will sideline the talented 22-year-old right-hander through the spring of 2015.
Taillon posted a 3.73 ERA and 143 strikeouts in 147 1/3 innings last year between Double-A Altoona and Triple-A Indianapolis, and he was on track to reach the major league level early this season. He was ranked the No. 19 prospect in the game this winter by Baseball Prospectus.
We’ll say it again: Pittsburgh probably should have picked up some starting pitching this offseason.
There isn’t much depth behind No. 5 starter Edinson Volquez, who had a 9.64 ERA this 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.