The Padres' acquisition of Craig Kimbrel on the eve of opening day ended Joaquin Benoit's hopes of becoming a first-division closer, but he was still a first-rate reliever, lowering his ERA over the last six seasons to 2.35 and his WHIP to 0.94. His strikeout rate dipped a bit, which you could take as a sign of decline for the 38-year-old, but his velocity was as good as ever. Unfortunately, he won't be the one taking over for the now-departed Kimbrel because he himself has departed for Seattle. But with Steve Cishek hardly a sure thing there, Benoit is a clear handcuff pick in AL-only leagues.
The Padres traded Benoit to the Mariners on Thursday in exchange for prospects Enyel De Los Santos and Nelson Ward, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. Benoit will head back to the AL after spending the last two season with the Padres. He worked as a setup man last season with Craig Kimbrel in town, but he remained a dominant option out of the bullpen, posting a 0.90 WHIP and striking out 63 batters in 65.1 innings out of the Padres' bullpen. Incumbent Mariners closer Tom Wilhelmsen held his own last season, but was not quite as effective as Benoit, so consider Benoit the favorite to open next season as Seattle's closer.
Benoit's club option for 2016 was exercised by the Padres on Tuesday. The right-hander was excellent in his second season with San Diego, but $8 million still seems steep for a 38-year-old setup man. However, it's possible Benoit could end up serving as the Padres' closer in 2016, if the team unloads Craig Kimbrel in the offseason. It's also possible Benoit could generate trade interest, too, from bigger-market teams in need of relief help.
Padres relief pitcher Joaquin Benoit was unavailable out of the bullpen on Sunday because he is dealing with back spasms, according to the San Diego Union Tribune.
Padres reliever Joaquin Benoit worked a perfect ninth inning to seal the 10-7 win over the Dodgers on Thursday. Benoit picked up his second save of the season, needing just 13 pitches to retire the side in order.
Padres reliever Joaquin Benoit pitched a perfect eighth inning to earn the win over St. Louis on Friday. Benoit won for the first time since May 19, moving to 5-3 on the year. He hasn't allowed a run and has given up just one hit over his last six appearances.