Baseball’s 2016 Winter Meetings are underway, and the Philadelphia Phillies have signed a veteran reliever on the first full day to help bolster their bullpen.
According to ESPN, 39-year-old Joaquin Benoit has reportedly agreed to terms with the club on a one-year, $7.5 million deal.
Benoit split last season between the Seattle Mariners and Toronto Blue Jays. His 26-game stint in the Pacific Northwest was mediocre, but he turned it on after being shipped north of the border.
His final overall numbers were solid last season. Benoit pitched in 51 games, allowing 37 hits over 48 innings with a 52/24 K:BB ratio.
WHO IS BENOIT?
He was originally signed as an 18-year-old back in 1996 by the Texas Rangers out of his native Dominican Republic. Benoit would make his big league debut with a one-game appearance in the 2001 season.
A starter early in his career, Benoit generally struggled in that role. In the 2005 season, the Rangers began to convert him to the bullpen.
By 2007 he had become the club’s Pitcher of the Year. But he would then spend the next couple of seasons struggling with injuries. Finally in January of 2009, Benoit underwent surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff. He would miss the entire season, ending his time in Texas.
Benoit then signed with the Tampa Bay Rays as a free agent, putting together his best big league season in 2010. That led to a multi-year deal in free agency with the Detroit Tigers.
Benoit spent three highly successful years in Detroit, including serving as the Tigers closer during the 2013 season when he saved 24 games.
A free agent once again, he signed with the San Diego Padres, spending two seasons in SoCal before being dealt to the Mariners. Seattle flipped him to the Jays at last season’s trade deadline in exchange for Drew Storen and cash.
BENOIT AND THE PHILLIES BULLPEN
Benoit joins a bullpen that returns Hector Neris, Jeanmar Gomez, and Edubray Ramos. The group was previously bolstered by the recent acquisition of 36-year-old Pat Neshek. All are right-handers.
A 40-man roster move was not immediately announced. There is a good chance that a pitcher such as Luis Garcia, Michael Mariot, Phil Klein, or the recently added David Rollins could be subtracted.
This is a short-term move to bolster the bullpen for next season only. Benoit turns 40 years old in late July. The Phillies have plenty of budget room, so money isn’t an object. Not a bad move, those factors considered.