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Tigers sign Joaquin Benoit to three-year, $16.5 million deal

Nov 17, 2010, 10:48 AM EDT


UPDATE: Enrique Rojas of ESPNDeportes says the deal is for three years and $16.5 million, with another $1 million in incentives each season. MLB Trade Rumors notes that it’s the biggest contract signed by a non-closer reliever since Scott Linebrink in November of 2007.


According to Jon Paul Morosi of the Tigers “are nearing a multi-year agreement with right-hander Joaquin Benoit” and “the deal could be for as long as three years.”

Benoit was nearly unhittable this season for Tampa Bay, throwing 60 innings with a 1.34 ERA, .147 opponents’ batting average, and 75/11 K/BB ratio and did so while making peanuts after the Rays picked him up off the scrap heap following shoulder surgery.

That he’s now on the verge of getting a three-year deal just 12 months after being available to anyone who wanted him for $1 million speaks to how amazing Benoit was in his comeback and also to the type of risk the Tigers are taking to add another power arm to their bullpen. When healthy Benoit has consistently been a top-notch setup man, but his last healthy and effective season before this one was 2007 and even setting aside his injury history signing a 33-year-old reliever to a three-year deal is always a big risk.

  1. yankeesfanlen - Nov 17, 2010 at 11:06 AM

    This should be good for the Tigers, maybe even get them competitive with the Twins if the rotation could stay healthy. Tigers CAN hit, just need less of a mish-mash of starters. Coke went through his maturing year in ’10, probably will make an excellent #3 or 4 man.

  2. cjvirnig - Nov 17, 2010 at 11:23 AM

    Damn! As a Twins fan, I was really hoping Dombrowski would put all of his eggs back in the Joel Zumaya basket (just kidding). Zumaya has come close to single-handedly destroying the Tigers bullpen with his various injuries in each of the last three seasons, so it was almost inevitable that Dave Dombrowski would make a solid move to shore up that ‘pen. Benoit looks like a pretty good bet. Given that Detroit is far from done making deals this winter, they certainly look to have bypassed the White Sox as the Twins biggest threat in 2011. Had Zumaya and Mags not gotten hurt in 2010, their second half may have looked a lot different.

    • The Rabbit - Nov 17, 2010 at 11:42 AM

      “Had Zumaya and Mags not gotten hurt in 2010, their second half may have looked a lot different.”
      That and if Brennan Boesch had not entirely forgotten how to hit over the 3-day All Star break, it could have been a lot tougher for the Twins.

  3. flpunx - Nov 17, 2010 at 9:17 PM

    Wow. Any chance the Rays bullpen had of returning strong again next year just took a huge hit. Partnered with the fact that Soriano is all but gone, we just lost our 2 biggest reliever assets.

  4. Ick McWang - Nov 17, 2010 at 11:23 PM

    Rays fans will miss him. I liked the pickup from his early history w the Rangers, actually was intrigued by both ex Rangers we picked up, Hank Blalock and Benoit, but Benoit was great. He became a little bit more hittable at the end of the year, probably from being a bit tired as the guy hasn’t pitched a full season in years, but him and Soriano made Rays games a 7 inning game if we were in the lead.

    Its a shame we didn’t have J.P. Howell all year, he really is what we were missing, especially in the playoffs, a lefty reliever who can go a couple innings if needed and is pretty much equal against lefties and righties.

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