When the owners created the committee to search for the next commissioner, I noted that this was something of a middle finger to Bud Selig’s clearly preferred plan of anointing Rob Manfred his successor. Michael S. Schmidt of the New York Times confirms that pretty darn clearly today.
Schmidt reports that Manfred’s candidacy — or, at the very least, his coronation — is being opposed by Jerry Reinsdorf, the Chicago White Sox owner. It’s surprising inasmuch as Reinsdorf has always been Selig’s number one ally among owners. Now, however, he’s working behind the scenes to thwart the one thing every king would like to have, and that’s the right to name his heir. Seems that Reinsdorf thinks this is a democracy!
“What I have said about Rob is none of your business,” Mr. Reinsdorf said in a telephone interview, interjecting an expletive.
Mr. Reinsdorf said he “had never said a bad word about Bud,” who he said “was the game’s best commissioner.” But he said that he believed that the owners — not Mr. Selig — should be in charge of picking the next one.
Or, as Schmidt characterizes it, Reinsdorf’s case is that “unlike owners who have hundreds of millions of dollars invested in their teams, Mr. Selig has no ownership in the game after he retires.”
All of which is understandable. And a nice reminder that, no matter what people like to think about the Commissioner of Baseball, he is not a leader as we usually think of that term. He’s just a CEO who answers to a powerful board of directors and serves at their pleasure.
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.