There has been some general friction between Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg and some of his players this year. Specifically the younger ones who don’t feel they have a set role. We saw this over the weekend when David Buchanan and Domonic Brown both gave quotes criticizing Sandberg’s treatment of them. Buchanan for being taken out of a game before he thought he should be taken out and Brown over playing time.
Bob Brookover of the Inquirer has a message for those two:
Shut up and play. Be quiet and pitch.
That’s the free advice being offered here to all Phillies players and pitchers – especially the younger ones – who want to gripe about how they are being used by manager Ryne Sandberg.
You know me well enough by now to not be a huge fan of that kind of stance, but here I think I tend to side with Brookover. Neither Brown nor Buchanan are being misused by their manager. Or, if they are, it’s not in any truly significant way. Contrast this to how young prospects get buried on benches sometimes or are publicly called out on other times. That can be bad. Here? Sandberg may or may not doing the best he can, but if he’s not, it’s clear that the difference between the best and what he’s doing isn’t the difference between the Phillies being in first or last place. Or these players being All-Stars or not.
It’s been a crappy season in Philly. Lots of losing. No one is particularly happy. Sometimes, when you’re on a team where everything is crappy, you do best by not telling the media how your particular situation feels crappy on that particular day. You just endure it like the other 22 dudes on the team are enduring the same crappy situation. In silence or, short of that, voicing your displeasure when the clubhouse is closed to the press.
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.