The All-Star teams will be announced on Sunday, so this is the last time MLB officially updates the voting. And it’ll be the last time I officially see Jose Altuve in fourth place of a competition that, if it were based on merit instead of name recognition and the size of fan bases, he’d be winning.
Really, I can see arguments that Robinson Cano or Ian Kinsler are the better choices. Their numbers aren’t all that different than Altuve’s generally speaking. But Dustin Pedroia? Bah. He’s having his worst season as a major leaguer. I still go with the notion that it’s cool for fans to go with the stars over the guys merely having good half-seasons, but Altuve is not some one-year wonder and, if there were justice in the cosmos, he’d be a star already.
Oh well. It’s just the All-Star game. I probably shouldn’t get worked up about it. I told myself I wouldn’t.
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.