For the second straight offseason, the Philadelphia Phillies have added another veteran arm to the bullpen. Last season, it was David Hernandez. While the 30-year-old Hernandez could not necessarily be characterized as “old,” he certainly fit the bill as a veteran, being that this past season was his seventh in the majors. This time, the Phillies have brought in someone who can be considered a “seasoned veteran,” and his name is Joaquin Benoit.
Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly was the first to report the news earlier Sunday evening [via CSNPhilly.com]. Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer confirmed the deal late last night, reporting that is was a one-year pact. He tweeted out today, that Benoit will receive a $7.5 million salary.
Benoit, 39, can be described as a well-traveled veteran, especially considering that the Phillies would be his seventh team in 15 seasons as a major-league reliever. Through a good portion of his career, Benoit has been a more than solid reliever, delivering seven seasons of sub-3.00 ERAs. Five seasons of near-4.00 ERAs have really done some damage to his career ERA, which currently sits at 3.79.
Not known as a closer, the right-hander does have some closing experience, recording a pair of seasons with 11 or more saves. Mostly known for his late-inning work, though, Benoit holds a career record of 57-43 in 712 appearances. Last season was really a tale-of-two-seasons for the aging vet. Beginning the season with the Seattle Mariners, he recorded a 1-1 record in 24.1 innings pitched. Normally, that wouldn’t seem bad. But when you consider his ERA sat at 5.81, you’ll likely change your opinion. He was moved to Toronto midseason, though, and went through almost a rebirth of sorts. He finished his time in Toronto at 2-0 with a 0.38 ERA in 23.2 innings of work. Overall, his 2016 season was another solid one, as Benoit finished 3-1 with a 2.81 ERA in 48 innings.
Philadelphia adds further depth to their bullpen with this move, much like they did by trading for Pat Neshek earlier this offseason. With Benoit entering the fold, this provides the Phillies with the depth to comfortably move either Jeanmar Gomez or Hector Neris, a move that has been speculated dating back to July’s trade deadline.
It’s unclear if this move would be it for the young Philadelphia organization. With the team being linked to a number of moves this offseason, including potential trades for either Detroit Tigers slugger J.D. Martinez [via ESPN] or Minnesota Twins infielder Brian Dozier [Twitter Link], it’s hard to imagine that they would stop after one move. However, general manager Matt Klentak has gone on record (many times, in fact) stating that the team would only make moves that made sense for the organization and their current direction.