Cardinals first baseman Matt Adams is expected to come off the disabled list tomorrow, which is the first day he’s eligible after missing two weeks with a calf injury.
Adams rejoining the lineup means Allen Craig will shift back to right field after filling in at first base and according to Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com the return of “Big Mayo” also likely means the Cardinals will send one of their two rookie outfielders, Oscar Taveras or Randal Grichuk, back to Triple-A.
Taveras is the much better prospect–in fact, he’s one of the top half-dozen or so prospects in all of baseball–and the Cardinals seem unlikely to keep him in the majors at age 21 if he’s not playing regularly. Taveras homered in his first career game, but has hit just .189 with a 7/2 K/BB ratio in 11 games overall. Grichuk has been even worse, hitting .136 with a 15/3 K/BB ratio in 19 games after batting .315 with 10 homers and a .952 OPS in 41 games at Triple-A.
Deciding to shift Taveras to center field would be a way to keep him in the majors as an everyday player while also making room for Adams’ return, but the Cardinals’ brass has suggested recently that they’d prefer if he stuck to an outfield corner.
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.