image by Samara Pearlstein
So yeah, that happened, the signing of Joaquin Benoit.
He’s a reliever. He should be a bridge to Papa Grande, and maybe occasionally a fill-in if the Potato cannot go for some reason (overuse, injury, stretch of suckitude, etc). Fine. He was a Ranger for a million years up until last season, when he was a Ray. He had really good numbers last year, but he missed all of 2009 while he recovered from rotator cuff surgery. He usually sports a distinctive goatee. He will turn 34 halfway through the 2011 season.
THOSE ARE THE FACTS
The Tigers have signed him to a 3-year, $16.5 million contract. Allegedly. It’s not quite official yet, but it probably will be. Maybe. Assuming his shoulder is really as healthy as it should be post-surgery.
Maybe you are thinking that this sounds like a very large contract to hand out to some dude who isn’t even supposed to be the closer if things go well. It’s ok to think that. I am thinking it too. In fact everyone is probably thinking it, because
Benoit’s reported contract is believed to be the longest Dombrowski has ever signed for a reliever, and reportedly the largest given to any non-closing reliever since Scott Linebrink signed a four-year, $19 million deal with the White Sox three years ago.
Eeek? I guess this is what it took to get things done in a market where everyone and their pet pitching coach is drooling after relief pitchers who aren’t filled with awfulness. Mr. Benoit’s 1.34 ERA and 0.680 WHIP are definitely not drenched in awful, so that meant he was going to be pricey. I guess.
This cat will be 36/37 at the end of his contract and his shoulder has already reduced itself to ground beef once. I don’t really like to see the Tigers saddling themselves with long, heavy, awkward contracts for aging/already-elderly players right when they were starting to shed such things. But if this ends up working and Benoit has a great 2011 and helps the Tigers win the PENNANT, I won’t complain. Much.