The Phillies have said for a couple of months that they weren’t putting Cole Hamels on the market. But then this got tweeted:
I’ve never truly believed it when teams say players are untouchable or that they are not having conversations about them. It’d be malpractice not to! That doesn’t mean they’re seriously considering a trade. Or that they disrespect the player. It’s just that there’s no use going through life with a hand tied behind your back. Talk to some GM about your “untouchable” player and you may find out that GM is dumb and will overpay. Or, at the very least, you get some intelligence about what’s going on in the marker place.
I bet someone will take issue with the Phillis for “making Hamels available” to whatever extent he is, in fact, available. But it’d be way dumber for Ruben Amaro to throw his cell phone in the toilet and not accept any calls at all.
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.