One of the more interesting tidbits within the Astros’ leaked internal communications earlier this week was an potential trade for Marlins superstar Giancarlo Stanton, which means the Marlins are yet again trying to convince the baseball world and Stanton that he’s not going to be traded.
Manny Navarro of the Miami Herald reports that Marlins president of baseball operations Mike Hill called Stanton personally to assure him there were no trade talks ongoing currently and then Hill told reporters the following:
I told you guys in the beginning of the winter that he’s not available–and we’re not shopping him. I would expect clubs to call on a good player. He’s a good player and I think that’s the point we want to make sure gets out. I’ve spoken to him and told him exactly that. So there’s no miscommunication and no misinterpretation on anybody’s part. We haven’t shopped him. He’s not available. We want that to be crystal clear.
We talk to our counterparts all the time. They like some of our players and we like some of their players. That doesn’t mean any of them are available. In that situation, it’s unfortunate they got hacked and it’s unfortunate that information got out there. But we just wanted to set the record straight he is not available. We didn’t go around calling and shopping him. It’s a non-story on our end.
All of which sounds perfectly fair and reasonable, except Miami’s history with trading away star talent makes it a story whether Hill likes it or not.
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.