Mariners News: M’s Trade for Joaquín Benoit

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The Mariners keep fanning the flames of the hot stove this offseason.  The embers are beginning to rage into quite a fire.  They have announced another trade today.  They have traded two prospects, minor league right handed pitcher Enyel de los Santos and infielder Nelson Ward for San Diego Padres right handed relief pitcher Joaquín Benoit.

Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

“Joaquín is a proven late game presence that brings stability and impact to the back end of our bullpen.  We value his experience, track record of durability and consistently high end performance.  I feel like this was a target for us as we went into the offseason, and I’m very happy that we were able to bring him on board.” said Jerry Dipoto, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Mariners.

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The Santiago, Dominican Republic native has been a setup man for several clubs over the years, the Texas Rangers, Tampa Bay Rays, Detroit Tigers, and San Diego Padres.  He has some closer experience, but has mainly pitched as a setup man.  He is a 6-foot-4 250 pound reliever that frankly isn’t very young.  He is 38 years old.  But he’s had a 14 year career in the major leagues as a reliever.  The very definition of a wiley veteran pitcher.  His statistics back that up.  In 2015 he pitched 65.1 innings and amassed 63 strikeouts, 23 walks, and gave up 36 hits resulting in a 2.34 ERA and .903 WHIP.  Benoit has a year remaining on his contract at $7.5 million.

This trade has two sides.  On the one side, the Mariners gained a valuable asset for the late innings in the bullpen and didn’t trade away any major league players.  They strengthened the bullpen.  The bullpen lost a solid reliever in Mark Lowe and closer Fernando Rodney.  So adding Joaquín is filling a gaping hole created by the losses.  On the other side, the Mariners traded away two very good young prospects for a very old player and now have a big contract to pay.

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Which brings me to the obvious conclusion that this move is a clear sign that the Mariners plan on winning now.  I have no problems with that.  Part of me wants to be upset that it appears that the Mariners are mortgaging the future, but no one knows if either of the two prospects will ever make it to the major leagues.  And while he is 38 years old, the Mariners have only have him for a one year contract.  Joaquín has three main pitches.  He’s got a 94 mph fastball, a slider, and a power change up that Jerry Dipoto called a “dive bomb”.   According to Corey Brock, a reporter for the San Diego Padres, the Mariners are one of 15 teams that called the Padres about the big right hander.  Fifteen teams you say?  Yes, and the Mariners got their man.  Welcome to Seattle Joaquín Benoit.

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