The Padres officially announced the signing of free agent relief pitcher Joaquin Benoit. Both sides agreed to a two-year contract earlier this month.Â Executive Vice President/General Manager Josh Brynes for the San Diego Padres made the announcement Saturday.
Benoit will earn a total of $15.5 million with an $8 million option for 2016 if he pitches 55 games or more, or a $1.5 million buyout, according to Corey Brock of MLB.com. The 36-year old will earn $6 million in 2014 and $8 million in 2015.
It’s expected that Benoit will replace set-up man Luke Gregerson, per ESPN.com, who was traded to the Oakland Athletics for outfielder Seth Smith. He will most likely handle the eighth inning to set up closer Hudson Street.
“We were looking for a quality guy who has shown he can pitch effectively in these late-game, high-leverage situations,” Brynes said on MLB.com. “For a guy who has been in the postseason four years in a row, he believes he can help us take our next steps as a team.”
Benoit has spent the last three seasons with the Detroit Tigers as a set-up man and most recently their closer for most of 2013. He replaced Jose Valverde in June 21, of 2013 and recorded 24 saves of 26 opportunities. He finished the year with an ERA of 2.01. In 67 innings pitched, Benoit posted a 73/22 K/BB while giving up 47 hits and 15 earned runs.
Benoit broke into the MLB at the age of 18 when he signed with the Texas Rangers as a non-drafted free agent. He spent 12 seasons with the Rangers organization and eight years with the Major League club. Benoit underwent surgery for a torn rotator cuff which caused him to miss the entire 2009 season. He then spent a year with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2010 where he allowed only nine earned runs and 30 hits in 60 1/3 innings. He also finished with a 1.34 ERA and striking out 75 batters.
In 541 games pitched in Benoit’s 12-year career, he has a 44-35 record with a 4.11 ERA and 37 saves. He has also struck out 833 batters and walked 354 in 541 games and 850 2/3 innings pitched.
“Joaquin has proven to be one of the top late-game relievers in baseball,” Brynes said on MLB.com. “We are excited to have him on the staff.”
The Padres have also added Josh Johnson to their pitching rotation as both sides agreed to a one-year, $8 million contract. In the rule 5 draft, they have added reliever Schuster to boost their bullpen. Outfielder Seth Smith was also acquired from the Luke Gregerson trade.
“The Padres are a team that’s going up,” Benoit said on a team press release. “This is a club that’s looking to go to the playoffs and that’s what it’s all about. The bullpen has a lot of good arms and for me to join that group, it was an easy decision.”
Zach Libby is a Staff Writer for Pro Sports Extra.