Originally written on The Outside Corner  |  Last updated 12/18/13
Joaquin Benoit was looking for closer money on the free agent market, which is a big reason why the Detroit Tigers didn't make an effort to re-sign him. The 36-year-old reliever found it with the San Diego Padres on Wednesday, agreeing to terms on a two-year contract worth $15.5 million.  Benoit may have gotten better-than-closer money, depending on your viewpoint. He received more with his contract than Grant Balfour got from the Orioles ($15 million over two years). With that salary in hand, the question is whether or not Benoit will be the Padres' closer next season. Benoit pitched well in that role for Detroit, converting 24 of 26 save opportunities. Overall, he had a 2.01 ERA while striking out 73 batters in 67 innings.  However, San Diego already has Huston Street — who's six years younger, by the way — on its roster. This year, he compiled a 2.70 ERA, 46 strikeouts in 56.2 innings and 33 saves as the Padres' closer.  Two numbers could concern the Padres about Street. He posted a strikeout rate of 7.6 per nine innings, the lowest of his nine major league seasons and a drop from 10.8 Ks per nine last season. Additionally, he served up 12 home runs, the most of his career. Consider that Street pitches his home games at Petco Park, the most pitcher-friendly park in MLB, according to ESPN.com's park factors. The Padres' home ballpark was average in home runs allowed per game, however.  Those numbers could be more influential toward who gets the closer role than salary figures. Street is set to earn $7 million in 2014 with a club option for the same salary in 2015. Perhaps San Diego general manager Josh Byrnes just wanted to sign a top-flight setup man with an eye on the following season. Benoit could pitch an eighth-inning role next year and then take over as closer if the Padres don't pick up Street's option, which seems likely.  If that's the case, however, it's strange that Byrnes traded the already less expensive Luke Gregerson to the A's. Gregerson was likely to make nearly $3 million less than Benoit through arbitration, though he could become a free agent after next season. Maybe Byrnes simply feels Benoit is better than Gregerson. He could be right, as Benoit moves to the National League while pitching in a friendlier environment than Detroit's Comerica Park. Benoit was less of a flyball pitcher this past season with the Tigers, but over his career, he's allowed more flyballs than groundballs (which has resulted in him giving up big home runs in some seasons). Petco Park will be an easier place for him to pitch under those circumstances. This past season, Benoit had a 1.09 ERA on the road while allowing a .192 batting average and .512 OPS to opposing batters.  Yet isn't it a bit unusual for the setup reliever to make more than the closer in a MLB bullpen? Benoit isn't getting that much more, set to earn $750,000 more than Street next season. But it certainly seems curious, something that might be tipping the Padres' intentions. This could be worth keeping an eye on during spring training and throughout the season to come. Maybe Street's prorated salary will seem OK to any team looking for a closer at the July 31 trade deadline. 
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Vikings RB McKinnon: If I had a fantasy team, I'd take myself

Report: Kings have had discussions with John Calipari

De’Andre Johnson charged with misdemeanor battery

Russell Wilson on salary: If it's $25M or $1.5M, I'll be ready to go

Luke Ridnour reportedly traded for fourth time in a week

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Scottie Pippen: I was LeBron James before LeBron James

Report: Marc Gasol only visiting with Memphis Grizzlies

Draymond Green to meet with Warriors at onset of free agency

Panthers rookie WR: We're going to be the dynamic duo

Examining Bo Ryan's legacy at Wisconsin

World Cup semifinals preview: US-Japan, Germany-England

Brett Favre dons Packers jersey, says, 'I think I could still play'

Bo Knows, Bo Goes: Wisconsin feels pride and pain

Popovich won't call free agents at midnight, he'll be in bed

Joe Buck explains why he quit Twitter

Should the White Sox and Indians become sellers?

Fan bases most deserving of a Super Bowl 50 win

2015 NBA Draft grades: Eastern Conference

Report: Redskins urged by major group to change team name

Under the radar NBA free agents

Michael Sam, boyfriend Vito Cammisano broke up?

Top seven storylines entering free agency around the NBA

Former FSU mascot killed in argument over gumbo recipe

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

NBA Draft grades: Eastern Conference

Under the radar NBA free agents

Michael Sam, boyfriend broke up?

Mickelson linked to money laundering?

Reminiscing on 'Love & Basketball' 15 years later

Selecting the 2015 NL All-Stars

The Sixers' latest horde

Projected landing spots for NBA's top free agents

MLB changes format for Home Run Derby

Revis to work out with Patriots DBs

Peterson: I'm still NFL's best RB

Kobe gives great quote on friendship

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.