Rangers starter Derek Holland, out since mid-January after injuring his knee in a fall at home, feels ready to go out on a rehab assignment, but GM Jon Daniels is “tapping the breaks” on that idea, Drew Davison of the Star-Telegram reports. Holland had microfracture surgery on the knee and the team prefers the left-hander continue strengthening the muscles around the knee.
“We just don’t want him to be at risk,” Daniels said. “When he comes back, we want him to have confidence and us to have confidence that we’re not putting the knee at further risk or something else at risk because he’s compensating for it.”
Holland was hoping to build off of last season’s impressive campaign in which he finished with a 3.42 ERA and a 189/64 K/BB ratio in 213 innings. Getting him back as healthy as possible is important for the Rangers, as their rotation is a shambles after losing Martin Perez to Tommy John surgery and Matt Harrison to an uncomfortable-sounding back injury (spondylolisthesis).
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.