We learned yesterday that Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels was claimed off revocable waivers by an unidentified team. We now know the identity of that team.
As first reported by Mike Missanelli of ESPN 97.5 in Philadelphia and confirmed by Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times, the Cubs were the team who made the claim. The Phillies can now simply pull Hamels back and keep him, give him (and the $100+ million remaining on his contract) away for nothing, or attempt to work out a trade with the Cubs within 48 hours. However, it’s seen as very unlikely that the two sides will agree to a trade.
Wittenmyer was told by a major league source that the Phillies want one of the Cubs’ prized shortstops in a deal for Hamels. Starlin Castro and Javier Baez would have to pass through revocable waivers to be dealt since they are currently on the 40-man roster, so Wittenmyer speculates that Addison Russell would be the centerpiece of a deal. That’s an understandable demand on the part of the Phillies, but the Cubs would likely prefer to sign a top pitcher in free agency rather than give up top prospects for an ace and still have to pay them huge money. On the flip side, the Phillies would surely prefer to shop Hamels to all 29 teams as opposed to just one.
It’s an interesting scenario to contemplate and it never hurts to talk, but look for Hamels to finish this season in a Phillies uniform.
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.