Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that the Pirates have acquired first baseman Ike Davis from the Mets.
Update: Per the Pirates official Twitter, the Mets have received right-handed pitcher Zack Thornton and a player to be named later. Thornton, 25, was promoted to Triple-A Indianapolis for the first time last season. There he finished with a 3.91 ERA in 25 1/3 innings, along with 31 strikeouts and four walks. To begin 2014, Thornton has a 1.23 ERA with eight strikeouts and one walk in 7 1/3 innings.
The Mets had a surplus at first base with Davis along with Lucas Duda and Josh Satin. Now that Davis is gone, Duda and Satin will split the time at first base depending on the handedness of the opposing starting pitcher. The Pirates were in need of a first baseman as they had been relying on Travis Ishikawa and Gaby Sanchez. Davis will displace Ishikawa, who has not been hitting well, and share time with the right-handed-hitting Sanchez, who has been performing well.
Davis made headlines last season after he started the year off so poorly that the Mets demoted him to Triple-A Las Vegas. Working with manager Wally Backman, Davis made some adjustments and came back much more productive, though his power didn’t come back the way they had hoped. Davis is carrying a .742 OPS as he joins the Pirates.
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.