The San Diego Padres have already traded one of their relievers in right-handed closer Huston Street, who was traded to the Los Angeles Angels the other day. Now, if they continue to sell, they have another very attractive trade piece in right-handed setup man Joaquin Benoit.
The Padres look like they are willing to listen to trade Benoit and they will have no shortage of potential trade partners. Jon Heyman of CBS reports that the three teams that are already talking to the Padres or may be interested in completing a deal are the Detroit Tigers, Pittsburgh Pirates, and the Cleveland Indians.
“The Tigers and Pirates might like Benoit for the eighth inning mostly but also as insurance in case Joe Nathan or Mark Melancon falter. The same teams are also looking at Joakim Soria, who has even more closing experience.”
“The Indians haven’t established themselves as a buyer but could be leaning that way as they heat up and could be interested in fortifying a young bullpen.”
For a long time, the Tigers have been linked to a possible deal involving Joaquin Benoit, as he used to pitch for them from 2011-2013. The Pirates would be making their second deal in as many months, as they traded away then-closer Jason Grilli to the Los Angeles Angels for their closer Ernesto Frieri.
The Indians are a weird team in all of this, as they have not been heard of in most of the rumors. However, they have been linked to Benoit and Tampa Bay Rays left-hander David Price. If they are still in the playoff race before the deadline, we could see them make a move for a reliever, like Benoit, who could help them down the stretch, possibly in the postseason.
San Diego has leverage in any potential deal, as they don’t have as much incentive to trade away Benoit. His versatility will fit nicely into a potential playoff team’s bullpen, which will likely make the Padres hold out for a big package in return for the right-hander. With that being said, it is far from a guarantee that he is even traded at all. It depends on how desperate these three teams are when it comes time for the deadline.
Joaquin Benoit has one more year left on a two-year, $15.5 million deal. Benoit is 4-2 with a 1.99 ERA, a 0.84 WHIP and a 2.63 FIP this season. He also has 47 strikeouts to just 11 walks in 40 and 2/3 innings pitched.