Joel Sherman of the New York Post and Ken Rosenthal of Fox more or less simultaneously reported that the Braves are expected to release Dan Uggla.
There was speculation about this over the weekend when the Braves had a roster crunch. That was alleviated by Uggla being suspended for one day due to showing up late to the ballpark (and possibly more; everyone was kinda cagey about it). But really, this was a long time coming. Uggla has lost his starting job and he has been utterly ineffective as a pinch-hitter. His inability to play elsewhere on defense means that, effectively, the Braves have been playing with a 24-man roster for weeks.
Uggla has hit just .175/.295/.332 since the beginning of last season. He’s owed around $19 million through the end of next season, so no one is going to claim him on waivers (if, in fact, he is designated for assignment instead of just given his outright release). It’s possible that someone may look at his power and his past and take a chance on him for the major league minimum — the Reds and Giants could both use help at second base — but after watching him every night for several years now, I’m gonna say that, nope, this dude has nothing to offer.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, me and all of the Braves fans are going to be having an Ewok-style Yub Nub party in which we play drums on all of Dan Uggla’s old batting helmets.
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.