Antonio Bastardo reportedly was drawing plenty of interest leading up to the July 31 trade deadline and seemed like a prime candidate to be moved, but instead the Phillies hung onto the 28-year-old reliever … and now he wants out of Philadelphia anyway.
Last night Ryan Lawrence of the Philadelphia Daily News asked Bastardo if he’d have been better off with a trade to another team and the left-hander actually gave an honest reply:
I don’t know, that’s a good question. I think it could be good for me to stay here, but I think it could be better going somewhere else. We have two young lefties here, and they can do a really good job. A third lefty in the bullpen … I think for my career–for my career–I should be somewhere else.
For my career, it could be way better to be somewhere else. If there was a team interested in me, I could be a part of a team and … help more. Be more in the game, stuff like that. Help them, and it could help me in my career. I’m moving forward not to be a mop-up guy in the game. I just like to be in the [biggest] spot that I can get.
In other words: Bastardo thinks the Phillies have some decent left-handed bullpen options for the future and he’d like to pitch for a contending team in a higher-leverage late-inning role. All of which seems fair, although surely Phillies fans won’t take too kindly to his asking out of Philadelphia.
Bastardo, who has a 3.31 ERA and 259 strikeouts in 201 innings since 2011, is under team control for 2015 and then can become a free agent.
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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.