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The Marlins sign . . . Armando Benitez?!

Jun 24, 2010, 5:13 PM EDT

That was . . . unexpected.

When Fredi Gonzalez got canned yesterday, his defenders pointed out that, hey, the Marlins didn’t exactly stock his bullpen with decent pitchers.

Well, let no man say that Jeff Loria doesn’t listen to the critics! He — or his subordinates — signed a reliever today: Armando Benitez.  Who hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2008 when he put up a 5.68 ERA for the Blue Jays in eight games before being released.  He kicked around the Astros’ organization a bit last year but was released by them too. For all we know he’s been hustling pool or teaching gardening classes or something since then.

Why sign Benitez? Best explanation I can come up with is that maybe someone told Loria that it was 2004 or something and he expects to be getting back the guy who saved 47 games?  Secondary explanation: maybe he’s secretly trying sabotage games in order to trigger a clause in the stadium lease that would allow him to move to Cleveland!

Either way, Benitez will go to New Orleans, physical willing, to pitch for the AAA club.  Don’t be surprised to see him in Miami soon, though, because these games don’t lose themselves.

With Jeff, all things are possible.

  1. Dan in Katonah - Jun 24, 2010 at 5:27 PM

    I am utterly dumbfounded. Did Loria also fire the GM and every person with a baseball IQ above a houseplant? Maybe he got him confused with Arthur Rhodes, who is also old but is doing remarkable things in Cincinnati. Mind bogglingly stupid.

  2. Old Gator - Jun 24, 2010 at 6:36 PM

    Benitez must have offered Scrooge McLoria a fortune to sign him.
    We’re well beyond absurdity now. I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that Larry Beinfest has covered the mirror in his bathroom so he won’t have to look at himself in the morning.
    Tomorrow, the Aureoles pull out, the Padres come in, and the Feesh will be back to non-Aureole reality. There’ll be one ridiculous game with Josh Johnson pitching and the rest….actually, I don’t want to think about it.

  3. jwb - Jun 24, 2010 at 6:45 PM

    Armando Benitez has been pitching quite well for the Newark Bears this season.

  4. Anon - Jun 24, 2010 at 7:13 PM

    Everyone who knows Armando Benetiz knows he’s about one thing: winning. He’ll fit right in with Loria.

  5. JBerardi - Jun 24, 2010 at 7:18 PM

    Teams sign marginal players to minor league contracts all the time. Ok, it’s a name we haven’t heard in a while, but besides that there’s really nothing remarkable about this.

  6. Old Gator - Jun 24, 2010 at 10:51 PM

    Ordinarily, no. What’s idiosyncratic (to be generous) about their decision to sign Benitez is the context of the signing: some belated confessions by the Feesh brain stem trust that, gee, I guess we didn’t give Freddi a boolpen, coupled with a foray into semi-pro ball to scrape up the shell of a once terrific pitcher (which is not to say that he used to be terrific all the time, but that he was terrific once) and stick him down on the farm rather than to seriously start looking to make a deal for a real solution to the boolpen’s arsonistic tendencies that might require…gasp!…a real expenditure of payroll.

  7. Old Gator - Jun 24, 2010 at 11:03 PM

    Coda: the boolpen got pounded for six runs tonight – by the Aureoles, no less – in a rout. More jaundiced observations of what’s been herded into the pen over the last couple of days will be appended to ATH tomorrow morning. It’s kinda parallel to the Benitez gambit, but with a bit less transparent absurdity and a little more pathos.

  8. JBerardi - Jun 25, 2010 at 1:01 AM

    Yes, yes, the Marlins are cheap. I get that. But it’s not like getting Benitez in and of itself prevents them from spending money on real bullpen solutions. And who knows, maybe they’ll get something out of the guy. Crazier things have happened, especially when building bullpens. I mean, I’m watching the Red Sox play the Rockies right now, and our highly paid bullpen has been getting absolutely torched right now (including Papelbon, again). Scott Atchinson is the only one of them who’s pitched well tonight, and he’s a 35 year old refugee from the Japanese leagues who was signed to… guess what, a minor league deal.

  9. Old Gator - Jun 25, 2010 at 3:09 AM

    And the Feesh have struck gold on a dungheap more often than Paracelsus. I’m aware that such things happen, and there’s no one quite like Larry Beinfest when it comes to spotting the guys with one more wag of the ol’ tail in ’em. Point is, though, that the Beanbags are willing to make investments and at least they try to sign players with impressive track records to help themselves. The Feesh, on the other hand, go out of their way not to sign the better players on the market, preferring instead to keep their fingers crossed that there’s a spark of life left in one of their reclamation projects. What this usually means is that they have to go out and find another wunderkind every goddamn year, and this past offseason most if not all of their feints have fizzled.
    Ordinarily, with most teams, you’d be absolutely correct: signing Benitez does not necessarily prevent them from going out and signing someone a little more hopeful. Unfortunately, in the case of the Feesh, they’ve used such acquisitions as excuses and/or window dressing and repeatedly failed to go after the players, especially the younger ones and even more especially the ones commanding six figures, more likely to succeed. They’ve also feigned efforts to sign players by offering them substantially (if not laughably) less than those players have aready been offered, as if to say “see, we tried.” But Buddha only knows what makes them think anyone was fooled by such gambits. After years of similar bagatelles, something as preposterous as admitting they need bullpen help and then signing a has-been just looks like more of the SOS – and not the kind with scrubbing bubbles, either.

  10. Jonny5 - Jun 25, 2010 at 9:57 AM

    I heard they signed him for 20$ an old playboy and a six pack of old milwawkees best.

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