Tim Lincecum was chased after giving up six runs (four earned) over just 2 2/3 innings on Saturday against the Nationals and now Amy Gutierrez of CSN Bay Area reports that the Giants will move him to the bullpen indefinitely.
Lincecum pitched a no-hitter earlier this season, but he owns a 4.64 ERA on the year and has really struggled of late with a 9.49 ERA with a 22/15 K/BB ratio in 24 2/3 innings over his last six starts. As a result, the Giants will turn to Yusmiero Petit to start Thursday against the Diamondbacks. With a 3.59 ERA and 87/17 K/BB ratio in 80 1/3 innings in six starts and 27 relief appearances this year, he’s deserving of the assignment.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy hasn’t announced his plans beyond Thursday, but Lincecum’s velocity and and command have been on the decline for a while now and a move to the bullpen might be the best thing for him and a team with postseason aspirations.
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.