The Phillies are officially on the hook for $11 million in 2015, as Jimmy Rollins’ option became guaranteed with his second plate appearance in tonight’s game against the Diamondbacks. Per Rollins’ contract, details of which you can see at Cot’s Contracts, Rollins’ 2015 option became guaranteed by accruing 1,100 plate appearances between the 2013-14 seasons. He had 666 last season and just hit 434 this season. Conversely, had Rollins missed time due to injuries last season, the option would have also become guaranteed with 600 plate appearances this season, which he also seems likely to achieve.
The only way the Phillies will be free of the commitment is if Rollins ends the 2014 season on the disabled list and a mutually agreed-upon doctor doesn’t deem him available for Opening Day in 2015.
The $11 million commitment for 2015 is yet another obstacle if Phillies GM Ruben Amaro intends to trade Rollins. Rollins has already said he won’t waive his 10-and-5 rights, but even if they somehow convinced him to do so, there many not be many takers willing to pay a 36-year-old shortstop $11 million.
Rollins entered the night with a .243/.326/.398 slash line with 13 home runs, 45 RBI, and 19 stolen bases. He has flied out and grounded out to third in two trips to the dish tonight against D-Backs starter Wade Miley.
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.