Chase Headley is an impending free agent and the Padres in 34-45, so it makes sense that they’re shopping him and Jeff Sanders of the San Diego Union Tribune reports that the Blue Jays are interested in the 30-year-old third baseman.
Headley’s stock has plummeted since a breakout 2012 season in which he hit .286 with with 31 homers and an .875 OPS while leading the NL with 115 RBIs. Last season his OPS declined by 130 points and this year he’s hit .199 through 58 games while also missing time with a back injury that required an epidural injection last week.
He’s owed about $6 million for the remainder of this season and the Padres are currently without an actual general manager after firing Josh Byrnes, but Sanders speculates that they might just be willing to clear his salary off the books while acquiring a mediocre prospect in return.
Toronto is currently using Juan Francisco as its primary third baseman and he’s provided plenty of power with 12 homers and an .832 OPS in 57 games, but his defense is sketchy and his .302 career on-base percentage is always an issue.
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.