It appears Hanley Ramirez will reach free agency.
Dodgers president Stan Kasten told Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times that contract talks with the injury-prone 30-year-old shortstop have been tabled until after the 2014 season. “Both sides have agreed we’ll sit down and talk at the end of the season and decide,” said Kasten. “We both decided that makes the most sense. As difficult a season as he’s had physically, there is still lots of time for him to have an enormous impact for us. … We love Hanley.”
Ramirez has appeared in only 100 of the Dodgers’ 125 games this year and is currently on the disabled list with an oblique strain. He has also batted just .277/.367/.455 in 2013, way down from his outstanding .345/.402/.638 batting line from 2014.
CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported in May that Hanley was seeking a deal worth in excess of $130 million. The Dodgers are flush with cash, but that’s still a really risky commitment for a guy who has struggled to stay on the field and whose defense at shortstop is already questionable and not going to get better.
The Dodgers have a fast-moving top shortstop prospect in their system named Corey Seager.
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.