Aug 29, 2016; Baltimore, MD, USA; Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Joaquin Benoit (left) reacts with catcher Russell Martin (right) after beating the Baltimore Orioles 5-1 at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
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The Phillies are not waiting at the winter meetings as the club is reportedly close to signing veteran reliever Joaquin Benoit.
Benoit, 39, has been around awhile. He’d instantly be the Phillies oldest player, but he’d be bringing a 2.40 ERA, 10.0 K/9, 0.977 WHIP in 427 innings since 2010 with him.
So yes, he’s a good pitcher. And yes, the Phillies bullpen just got better on paper. It’s safe to assume he’ll be taking David Hernandez’s spot from 2016, but a corresponding move would be required since Hernandez is a free agent, and the Phils 40-man roster is full.
Details of the deal (or a conformation of it) have not been released. But it’s safe to assume it’ll be a one-year pact, due to Benoit’s first half struggles (5.18 ERA with SEA, 0.38 ERA with TOR after mid-season trade) maybe for around $4-$6 million if I had a guess.
Benoit also has his fair share of postseason experience. Posting a 2.82 ERA in 20 career playoff games.
As mentioned, a corresponding move would be required for Benoit. So, are the Phils adding? Or is the club preparing for a departure?
This is just speculation, but the club has been rumored to deal a reliever (one of Ramos, Neris, or Gomez). However, removing LHP David Rollins (recently claimed from TEX), or another cut-bait option (L. Garcia, Morgan, Klein, etc) could be the easier solution.
As stands, the Phils bullpen is looking quite improved. If the Benoit deal happens, you’re looking at a pen of Hector Neris, Edubray Ramos, Jeanmar Gomez, Joaquin Benoit, Pat Neshek, and at the moment Joely Rodriguez.
However, the Ken Giles trade of last year proved Matt Klentaks willingness to deal quality relievers.