After re-signing with the Red Sox shortstop Stephen Drew went 1-for-14 and then injured his oblique muscle, but the other Scott Boras client who sat out the first two months of the season before finally signing, Kendrys Morales, is showing zero signs of rust.
Morales agreed to a one-year, $7.6 million deal with the Twins on Saturday, was immediately added to the active roster without first going on a minor-league rehab assignment, and is now 6-for-12 with three doubles through three games (with another at-bat likely still this afternoon).
Minnesota already had a pretty good designated hitter option in Josmil Pinto, but manager Ron Gardenhire was hesitant to use him at DH regularly because the 25-year-old rookie is also the Twins’ backup catcher. Now that Morales is the full-time DH it sounds like Pinto will be headed back to Triple-A. And so far at least no one minds, because Morales is hitting .500 and clearing the bases with game-breaking doubles.
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.