Only a couple days have past, and it looks as if Josh Byrnes and the Padres’ front office have found their replacement for Luke Gregerson. The Padres are reportedly paying the 12-year pro $15.5 million over 2 years.
Benoit played the majority of his career with the Texas Rangers where he began his career as a starter. After a few sub-par seasons, the Rangers moved Benoit to the bullpen where he would reside and have success.
Joaquin probably had his best season to date when he did a one time stint with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2010. he helped the Rays go 96-66 and win the AL East Crown and a playoff berth. Ironically, the Rays eventually lost to Benoit’s former team the Texas Rangers in the ALDS. Joaquin’s season was outlined with his 6.82 Strikeout-to-Walk Ratio and boasted a 1.34 ERA.
After the quick stint with the Rays, Joaquin moved on to the Detroit Tigers where he played for the past three seasons. As a Tiger, Benoit helped Detroit to three back-to-back AL Central Pennants and AL Championship Series appearances, including a World Series loss in 2012. This past season, Joaquin assumed the role as a 9th inning closer for the first time in his career. He had 24 saves in 26 chances. His only real blunder happened to be in the playoffs when he gave up a game tying grand-slam in the ALCS to David Ortiz. The Red Sox went on to win the series, and thereafter became the World Series Champions.
With his years of experience and recent success as the lead closer, Joaquin Benoit should bring some veteran leadership to the bullpen. Although his $15.5 million over 2 years seems like a lot to be an 8th inning set-up man, it may be a key piece to this Padre’s bullpen.
The Padres have always been known for their strong bullpen and this should help solidify that status in 2014. Benoit may also be insurance for Huston Street as the Padres closer found himself with injuries in 2013. The Padres front office continues to make offseason moves to strengthen their team.
The Padres have now acquired OF Seth Smith, P Patrick Schuster, and IF Ryan Jackson this offseason. They have also been in other trades for ‘Players to be Named Later’ with the Astros in an Anthony Bass trade.