Finally, the San Diego Padres have entered the free agent marketplace by agreeing with reliever Joaquin Benoit to a two-year contract for $15.5 million. Yahoo Sports baseball writer Jeff Passan first reported the agreement on twitter.
Sources: Joaquin Benoit deal with San Diego is done, pending physical.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 18, 2013
Benoit pitched the last three seasons for the Detroit Tigers. For most of his time with the Tigers he served as the set-up guy for Jose Valverde. After Valverde, Bruce Rondon and Phil Coke all failed in their attempt to become the Tigers closer last season they turned to Benoit. He excelled as the closer and helped settle down the Tigers unstable bullpen last season.
With the Padres, Benoit will likely return to his familiar role as a set-up guy to closer Houston Street. In 66 games with the Tigers last season Benoit threw 67 innings, posted a 2.01 ERA with 73 strikeouts and 24 saves.
Of course everyone’s most recent memory of Benoit is giving up a grand slam to David Ortiz in the American League Championship Series. Former Tigers manager Jim Leyland is as responsible for that home run as Benoit is. Leyland managed that half-inning like he had a one run lead.
The Tigers signed closer Joe Nathan to a two-year, $20 million deal last month. Last week they added former New York Yankee reliever Joba Chamberlain on a one-year deal for $2.5 million. These two moves essentially shut the door on a return to Detroit for Benoit.
What else should the Padres do this off season? Please, share your thoughts.
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