So much for that.
Nick Franklin lost his spot as the Mariners’ starting second baseman when the team signed Robinson Cano for $240 million, but worked his way back into their plans as an outfielder/infielder by hitting .376 in 20 games at Triple-A.
That earned him a call-up to Seattle, but now after hitting an abysmal .128 with a 21/3 K/BB ratio in 17 games Franklin has been demoted back to the minors.
Franklin is still just 23 years old and still projects as a good all-around regular, but the Mariners are never going to give him another chance at second base with Cano around and don’t seem to believe he can handle shortstop on a regular basis. That means he either needs to be traded somewhere else or needs to prove that he can hit enough to be an asset as a corner outfielder, the latter of which looks iffy with a .214 batting average and .649 OPS through 119 games as a big leaguer.
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.