Tag:Joaquin Benoit
Posted on: May 17, 2011 1:54 am
 

3 up, 3 down: Believe in 'The Hopper'



By Matt Snyder


First things first, big ups to the Cleveland Indians for scoring 19 runs in a game. That's quire impressive. You won't find them included here, because I wanted to spread the love a bit.

Burke Badenhop, Marlins. The unheralded -- yet effective -- middle reliever put himself in the spotlight late Monday night with a bat in his hands. After throwin a scoreless 10th inning, Badenhop was left in to bat with runners on first and second (backup shortstop Ozzie Martinez was available to pinch hit, too). He swung at ball three with a 2-1 count, but worked the count full. On the payoff pitch, Badenhop laced a single to center that plated Mike Stanton for the go-ahead run. The Marlins would hold on, 2-1, despite fellow pitcher Jonathon Niese tripling in the bottom half of the 11th. Needless to say, it was quite the wacky night at Citi Field -- but the end result was the Marlins moving to within a game of the Phillies in the NL East.

Colby Lewis, Rangers. The White Sox were returning home after a successful road trip that saw them win six of their last eight. Manager Ozzie Guillen promised the fans his team would make it up to the fans for having not had home success earlier in the season. Lewis had other ideas, as he spun his first career shutout. He only allowed five hits and a walk while striking out seven.

Rockies' offense. The Rox entered Monday night 9-16 since their 11-2 start. They hadn't won a series since April 26 and were 3-9 in their last 12. And they were facing Tim Lincecum. After being shut down for four innings by Lincecum, the Rockies' bats woke up in a big way. Carlos Gonzalez came through with the big blow -- a three-run home run that drove Lincecum from the game. The final line for the two-time Cy Young winner was: 5 2/3 innings, nine hits, six walks, two home runs (Seth Smith with the other) and seven runs (only three earned). That's gotta build some confidence in the Rockies' clubhouse and could possibly get them right back on track.




Joaquin Benoit, Tigers. Max Scherzer was brilliant again for the Tigers, working seven solid innings against a hot Blue Jays offense and lowering his ERA to 2.81. The game was tied at one entering the eighth, but Benoit pitched the Tigers right out of the game by allowing three runs on four hits. That means he's given up 16 hits and 12 earned runs in his past six outings -- spanning just five innings.

The New York Yankees. With all the soap opera stuff involving Jorge Posada, Derek Jeter, Rafael Soriano and the entire front office, it's getting to be a bit much. Oh, and the Yanks have now lost six games in a row for the first time under Joe Girardi. Monday night, they built a 5-1 lead off Rays' ace David Price only to blow it and lose 6-5. They're now in a virtual tie with the Red Sox and Blue Jays and closer to last place than first.

Orioles' bullpen. Chris Tillman left with a 6-0 lead, but over the following four innings, the Orioles would unsuccessfully use six relievers. Mike Gonzalez gave up four runs (though only one was earned). Jeremy Accardo was charged with two hits and one earned run. Clay Rapada got an out, but walked the only other batter he faced. Jim Johnson allowed three hits and a run in his inning of work. Koji Uehara allowed a hit and walk in his inning, though he did get through it with a zero on the scoreboard. Last, and certainly least, closer Kevin Gregg coughed up the game in the ninth when he walked Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia before Adrian Gonzalez's walk-off two-RBI double.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: March 10, 2011 9:57 am
Edited on: March 10, 2011 12:02 pm
 

Pepper: Rites of spring


By C. Trent Rosecrans

Every spring we get excited and pick winners for every division, count out teams, give a couple of other teams a free ride to the World Series and then sit back and are surprised when it doesn't happen.

The thing is, in baseball and in life, things change quickly and can change drastically.

Since the start of spring training games -- a little less than two weeks -- we've seen the Cardinals and Brewers lose some of their luster in the NL Central and the Phillies go from 110 wins to a struggling offense. We've even seen Carlos Zambrano be the calm, collected, sane member of the Cubs staff.

It's a rite of spring to project and to then react and overreact to anything we see on the field in these four weeks of meaningless games. And even when meaningful games start, there's enough time for injuries to happen, players to return and players to emerge to really know what's going to happen at the end.

And that's the fun of it. We don't know. You never know.

Sure, we can all expect a Red Sox-Phillies World Series, but there's no guarantee that'll happen. But if it does, I guarantee the road there will be completely different than we all imagined. And that's why this game is so great. You just never know, even if you think you know.

FEELING 'HITTERISH': Nationals über-prospect Bryce Harper has been nearly as entertaining off the field as on it, as he coin a new term on Wednesday.

From the Washington Post:

"I feel really confident in myself. There's guys who are going to come after you. I want to hit right now. I'm feeling hitterish. I'm trying to go up there and get some hacks in. I'm not going to be here for a long time. I want to try to go up there and get my hits in."

So, what's the definition of "hitterish" Adam Kilgore asked?

"You wake up in the morning, and you're feeling hitterish, you're going to get a hit that day," Harper said. "That's what it is. If you get a hit every day, you're feeling hitterish, for sure. Wake and rake."

Harper had an RBI single in his only at-bat on Wednesday and is hitting .357 this spring (in 14 at-bats).

BELTRAN BETTER: Carlos Beltran won't play in a Grapefruit League until next week, but he does feel "a lot better" and has not been "shut down." He took batting practice and played catch on Wednesday.

The Mets are looking at Willie Harris and Scott Hairston in right field if Beltran can't go, and are also giving Lucas Duda extra work in right field to prepare him to play there if needed. (New York Daily News)

GARLAND GROUNDED: Dodgers starter Jon Garland is expected to start the season on the disabled list after leaving Wednesday's game with a  strained oblique muscle on his left side. He had an MRI on Wednesday and the team is expected to announce the results today.

The team has already lost starter Vicente Padilla for at least the first month of the season after surgery to repair a nerve below his right elbow.

The injuries mean the once-pitching rich Dodgers are down to four starters, although the team won't need a fifth starter until April 12. John Ely and Tim Redding would likely be candidates if Garland and Padilla are still sidelined. (Los Angeles Times)

GOOD ADVICE: Maybe the Dodgers could get that old guy to take the mound -- the one working with Ted Lilly on Wednesday. That guy was Sandy Koufax.

"He still loves to watch baseball, loves the art of pitching," Lilly told MLB.com. "You know he was great. But he's also smart, he's passionate about pitching, he understands and sees things. Sometimes they are little things.

"I enjoy learning about baseball and talking about it with someone like Sandy Koufax, and I enjoy talking about it with Clayton Kershaw and Chad Billingsley and Jon Garland. There are always ways to move forward, even if they are small."

ZOOM GROUNDED: Tigers manager Jim Leyland is planning his bullpen to start the season without Joel Zumaya, who has been sidelined with pain in his surgically repaired right elbow this spring.

"I don't think right now, from within camp or by trade, that you can replace a healthy Joel Zumaya -- and I emphasize a healthy  Joel Zumaya," Leyland told MLB.com. "So you have to just keep looking and try to come up with somebody, mostly from within."

The Tigers did go out and spend a lot of money on a set-up man, Joaquin Benoit, so the path leading up to closer Jose Valverde isn't barren. Ryan Perry is expected to handle seventh-inning duties, which he was expected to shoulder with Zumaya.

SALAZAR IMPROVING: Several Braves players said they feared for the worst after minor league manager Luis Salazar was hit in the face by a foul ball on Wednesday. 

"A ball hit that hard, at that short a distance, can certainly kill somebody if it hits them in the right spot," Chipper Jones told David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "I'm so glad to hear that he's conscious and breathing on his own."

Salazar was hit by a foul ball off the bat of Brian McCann and was airlifted to an Orlando hospital. MLB.com's Mark Bowman reports Salazar suffered multiple facial fractures, but did not suffer any brain damage. He was able to interact with family members later Wednesday night.

D-BACKS COACH BREAKS FOOT: While not nearly as serious as Salazar's injury, the timing does take away several light-hearted remarks I could make, but Diamondbacks third base coach Matt Williams may miss the beginning of the regular season with a broken foot.

Williams took a line drive off the foot while throwing soft toss to his son, Jake, on Monday. He's expected to miss two-to-three weeks. (Arizona Republic)

FIRST AT FIRST: Indians catcher Carlos Santana played his first-ever professional game at first base on Wednesday.

Santana cleanly fielded all nine chances he got at first and also had a double in the Indians' 9-2 loss to the Padres.

The Indians are searching for ways to keep his bat in the lineup and keep the young catcher healthy. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

PILING ON: A New York  storage company is joining in on making jokes about the city's easiest target -- the Mets.

In an ad on the city's subways for Manhattan Mini Storage, it says, "Why leave a city that has six professional sports teams, and also the Mets?" (New York Times)

WHEN HIDEKI MET RICKY: New A's slugger Hideki Matsui has connected with team icon Rickey Henderson, whom Matsui admired growing up in Japan -- and the feeling is mutual. (MLB.com)

HIGH PRAISE: Yankees closer Mariano Rivera says 19-year-old left-hander Manny Banuelos is the best pitching prospect he's ever seen.

"I like everything about him," Rivera told ESPNNewYork.com. "The makeup and how he keeps his composure. I notice situations and how you react in situations. Where you make your pitches in tough situations, where you spot your pitchers, he has the ability to do that."

WHITE RETIRES: Former West Virginia and Miami Dolphins quarterback Pat White has retired from baseball.

After White was released by the Dolphins last September, White signed a minor-league contract with the Royals and played in the Fall Instructional League. On Wednesday, the team said White did not report to spring training.

The Dolphins drafted him in the second round of the 2009 draft. He was also drafted by the Angels, Reds and Yankees. (Associated Press)

RISING WATER: It's been raining here in Cincinnati, but check out just how much -- this photo from Reds assistant media relations director Jamie Ramsey gives you a big-picture view of just how high the water is on the banks of the Ohio River.

He adds another picture of flood gates set up around Great American Ball Park. (Better Off Red)


 For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
More MLB coverage
Posted on: January 9, 2011 1:01 pm
 

Garza, Benoit, same difference


Matt Garza The Chicago Sun-Times went big with its cover story the day after the Cubs traded for Tampa Bay's Matt Garza, running a full-page photo with the headline "BIG G." The problem is, the photo is of BIG B -- former Ray and current Tiger Joaquin Benoit (photo courtesy of the St. Petersburg Times ).

In fairness, the jersey name and number are not visible in the photo, and the two right-handers do have the same facial hair and are listed at almost the same height and weight.  But that's obviously not Garza (who is pictured on the right).

I know, I know, people who live in glass houses ...

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb  on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.


Category: MLB
Posted on: December 7, 2010 3:04 pm
Edited on: February 21, 2011 3:47 pm
 

Rays need to rebuild bullpen

Carl Crawford and Carlos Pena are gone, but those aren't the Rays' biggest losses, manager Joe Maddon said at Tuesday's media session at the MLB Winter Meetings.

"If we can get a bullpen back together, that can put us back into the 90-win category," Maddon said.

The Rays are slated to lose not only closer Rafael Soriano, but already lost Joaquin Benoit to the Tigers. Dan Wheeler is a free agent, as are Grant Balfour, Randy Choate and Chad Qualls, who all three turned down arbitration. The team also non-tendered Lance Cormier.

That leaves the Rays in need of a near-total bullpen restoration. Andy Sonnanstine is the lone carry-over from last season's bullpen.

"I don't think it's nearly impossible," Maddon said of rebuilding the bullpen, "but it's going to be challenging."

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb  on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed
Posted on: November 23, 2010 8:03 pm
Edited on: November 23, 2010 8:06 pm
 

Brewers offer Hoffman arbitration

Hoffman The Milwaukee Brewers offered Trevor Hoffman arbitration, but Adam McCalvy of MLB.com reports that Hoffman has agreed to decline arbitration.

Hoffman is a Type B free agent, so Milwaukee will net a compensatory pick if he signs elsewhere. The career leader in saves has indicated he will only play in 2011 if he is the closer, which he be in Milwaukee if he chose to return.

In other arbitration news:
  • Cliff Lee has unsurprisingly been offered arbitration along with fellow Type-A free agent Frank Francisco, which could chill Francisco's market. Vladimir Guerrero and Bengie Molina both saw their market increase with no offers of arbitration as MLB.com reports.
  • The Orioles have declined to offer arbitration to Koji Uehara, who may be among the most coveted relievers since he is extremely productive, is stingy with walks and will come on a one-year pact most likely. It's unlikely that Kevin Millwood is offered arbitration as the Baltimore Sun outlines, and if the Sun is to be believed, Millwood won't have a problem finding a job. The Rockies and Royals appear to be the farthest along in contract discussions.
  • Derrek Lee won't be back in Atlanta as the club will not offer arbitration to the Type-A free agent. Offering arbitration would have near guaranteed Lee's return, and the first-base job belongs to Freddie Freeman as the Atlanta Journal-Constitution notes.
  • The Diamondbacks will offer arbitration to Aaron Heilman and Adam LaRoche (both Type B free agents). It is possible LaRoche could accept and return as first baseman.
  • The Rays cut ties with Dan Wheeler (Type A) and Carlos Pena (Type B) as the St. Petersburg Times says, but did tender offers to Type A's in Carl Crawford, Grant Balfour and Rafael Soriano. They also offered to Type B's in Joaquin Benoit, Randy Choate, Brad Hawpe and Chad Qualls. Some of these Type B offers certainly have gentleman's agreements to decline, while Benoit is a Tiger and is already assured of giving Tampa a draft pick.
  • The Angels have announced DH Hideki Matsui won't be offered arbitration. The A's are thought to be contenders for Matsui's services.
  • The Denver Post has arbitration offers from Colorado out to Jorge de la Rosa (Type A) and Octavio Dotel (Type B).

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: November 19, 2010 9:44 am
Edited on: November 19, 2010 11:29 am
 

Friday morning rumor roundup


The owners have taken over for the GMs in Orlando, but the hot stove has been kicked up a notch this week. Here are some current storylines.

* The Diamondbacks are increasingly inclined to move Justin Upton, with the Blue Jays, Mariners and Marlins having expressed "a high level of interest." (USA Today )

* The Giants want Aubrey Huff back, and he wants to come back, but talks haven't gotten serious. (CSNBayArea.com )

* Hal Steinbrenner says the Yankees and Derek Jeter are working with "mutual respect," but it's a "business negotiation." (Star-Ledger )

* Drayton McLane has ramped up his efforts to sell the team by retaining an investment firm. Asking price: $800 million. (bizofbaseball.com )

* Bad news for Phillies fans who want to keep Jayson Werth around: GM Ruben Amaro is already referring to the outfielder in the past tense. (Philadelphia Inquirer video)

* The Tigers' three-year deal with Joaquin Benoit is officially official. (Tigers.com )

* The incentive clauses built into Felix Hernandez's contract make his Cy Young worth an extra $4.25 million (bizofbaseball.com )

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.


Posted on: November 17, 2010 11:07 am
Edited on: November 17, 2010 11:48 am
 

Report: Tigers set to sign Benoit


A day after John Buck cashed in on a comeback season, setup man Joaquin Benoit is set to do the same, according to a report from FOXSports.com. Sources say the 33-year-old right-hander is close to a deal with Detroit for as long as three years.

Benoit's career was on the ropes after he put up a 5.00 ERA for the Rangers in 2008 and then missed 2009 due to major shoulder surgery. The Rays signed him to a $750,000 deal at the start of spring training last year and got a huge return on that investment as he dominated: 63 appearances, 1.34 ERA, 0.680 WHIP and 75 strikeouts against 11 walks.

The Tigers are set with Jose Valverde as closer, but Benoit would give them a dynamite right-handed setup man and a fallback in case Valverde's elbow soreness crops up again.

UPDATE: Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes says Benoit's deal is worth $5.5 million per year for three years, plus another $1 million per year in incentives for a total potential payout of $19.5 million. Holy cow. Considering the size and quality of the reliever market this winter, owners can't like the precedent this sets. You can practically hear Scott Boras (agent for top free-agent closer Rafael Soriano) drooling.

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: November 3, 2010 11:25 am
Edited on: November 4, 2010 9:01 pm
 

Predicting where free agents will land

Baseball is currently in a five-day period where teams have exclusivity to negotiate with players who have become free agents. Sunday at midnight, that period will expire and free up players to talk to any and all teams.

There's plenty to like about this free-agent crop, as the top players at each position is enough to put together a contending team. Plus, there are a good number of nice backup options, too.

Below, you can find Evan Brunell's predictions on where free agents will wind up, going position by position with two names at each position.

Martinez C: Victor Martinez -- Tigers. All the noise surrounding Detroit going hard after Martinez seems legit. It's part of Detroit's M.O., filling a position of desperate need to contend and Martinez is the best option and remains capable of catching. Plus, Detroit has no major block at first or DH for an eventual switch for V-Mart as Alex Avila apprentices.

C: John Buck -- Yankees. Jorge Posada will be receiving most of his at-bats as a DH and Francisco Cervelli certainly can't start. The Yankees will flex their financial muscles on a catcher which they can bring in on a short-term contract who broke out in Toronto last season. It solves the catcher conundrum short term and leaves the long term free for Austin Romine.

Dunn 1B: Adam Dunn -- Cubs. Another popular pairing that makes too much sense. The Cubs need to strike to stay in contention even as they try to get their minor-league system in order and producing over the next couple of seasons. Dunn's defense is minimized now that he's at first, and the Cubs need someone to sky them big flies. (And if the Cubs really are not going after big-name free agents , which I doubt is 100 percent true, I'll tab Dunn to the Athletics .)

1B: Aubrey Huff -- Giants. Unfortunately, while bringing in Huff eventually paid off big time for San Francisco, he is now overrated. With Brandon Belt tearing up the farm, there's no overwhelming reason to give Huff anything close to what he can get on the market. I have a feeling Brian Sabean will do what he always does, signing older players coming off big years to nonsensical contracts. You know it and I know it. Sleeper alert: The Giants move forward with a Mark DeRosa/Travis Ishikawa platoon at first, leaving Huff to land with the Mariners .

Hudson 2B: Orlando Hudson -- Padres. The O-Dog will be on the move again, looking for his fourth team in four seasons, fifth overall. He's long wanted to join the Mets, but Luis Castillo has prevented him from doing so. The Padres plan to contend, but still need the dollars to make sense for who they bring in, and it will for Hudson to plug a vacancy at second with no viable internal options.

2B: Bill Hall -- Twins. Hall is looking for a starting job, but there are those telling him he is best suited as a super utility player. Look for Minnesota to give him a chance at the starting 2B job, but the Twins will love moving him around once they can justify it.

Jeter SS: Derek Jeter -- Yankees. I think a lot of people are going to be a bit surprised by how long the negotiations take. Despite popular sentiment, Brian Cashman is not one to pay someone beyond actual value. What he does have is disposable income that the owners can order him to pay a premium, so Cashman will do just that -- but only at a small premium.

SS: Juan Uribe -- Giants. This is one return that makes sense. Edgar Renteria isn't being brought back, even if he doesn't retire. Pablo Sandoval's struggles at third and Uribe's ability to slide to third as need be will be coveted by San Francisco, and he deserves the deal he'll sign for. It's a very weak market for shortstops, so even those that could be available in a trade (Jason Bartlett?) may have too prohibitive a price.

Beltre 3B: Adrian Beltre -- Angels. Los Angeles makes the big strike here, importing a gifted defender who had a great season with the stick. He won't hit .321 again, but he'll be a signing on the level of Torii Hunter. He's expensive but will produce and help put L.A. back into postseason contention.

3B: Miguel Tejada -- Padres. San Diego was pleased with Tejada's production after acquiring him from Houston and will sign him to play his natural position of short even though he began the transition to third base last season.

Crawford LF: Carl Crawford -- Red Sox . Crawford will spark a bidding war between the Red Sox, Angels and some other team yet to be known, plus a late charge by the Yankees (you know it'll happen). In the end, the Red Sox will win out, offering just enough to entice Crawford to Boston.

LF: Marcus Thames -- Phillies. Thames built his value this past year, establishing himself as a strong platoon option against left-handers who surprisingly held his own against righties. The Phillies are interested in bringing in another right-handed hitter to pair with Ben Francisco, and Thames seems like the perfect low-cost, high-upside option.

Damon CF: Johnny Damon -- Astros. Damon may be a center fielder, but it's in name only as he's restricted to left and DH at this point of his career. No contending team is going to be interested in starting him, but he can still land somewhere where there's a faint glimmer of a chance at the postseason. Damon can be the grizzled, scrappy veteran who can lead them to the top. Welcome to Houston, Johnny!

CF: Melky Cabrera -- Royals. Cabrera's stock is down. Way, way down. He'll have to latch on with a bottom-feeding club who gambles on his tools. Kansas City seems like the perfect place to do that. With an up-and-coming farm, he could fit in seamlessly if he takes his job seriously. If he doesn't, the Royals simply move on.

Werth RF: Jayson Werth -- White Sox. It makes a lot of sense for the White Sox to go after Werth -- they have their own bandbox and need someone who can play the outfield and who could DH in his off days. Carlos Quentin's defense needs to be hidden or moved to first if they don't bring Paul Konerko back. Helping matters is Chicago has the money to make it happen.

RF: Andruw Jones -- Braves. Coming off a strong season for the White Sox where he proved he can still bring it, just not quite as a full-time outfielder (although that possibility does exist), Jones seems like he could make a return to Atlanta. The Braves have a need to remake their outfield, and Jones seems to be a perfect piece of the puzzle.

Thome DH: Jim Thome -- Twins. No reason for Thome to leave the Twins, really. He had a strong season there, became a cult hero, has been loyal to his teams and Minnesota definitely could use this slugger back provided the two can agree on how much playing time he will get. Having Delmon Young, Denard Span, Michael Cuddyer, Jason Kubel and Justin Morneau doesn't leave much room for Thome, but it worked out just fine in 2010.

DH: Manny Ramirez -- Rays . Manny is a DH and probably will find the market a bit hostile towards him. He's not upper-echelon any longer, but not many teams need a DH. After long and overdrawn-out negotiations thanks to Scott Boras, ManRam will finally sign around the beginning of spring training and coast into town to help the Rays and what could be a moribund offense.

Pavano RHSP: Carl Pavano -- Brewers. Pavano is set to cash in on his success with the Twins and is certain to be in a position where he can outdo accepting arbitration thanks to a poor right-handed starter's market. Milwaukee needs to find starting pitching and fast, and the Brewers proved last year with Randy Wolf they weren't afraid to go get it. Wolf's struggles won't be enough to deter Milwaukee from Pavano, not when a Wolf-Pavano-Yovani Gallardo rotation would do wonders in the NL Central.

RHSP: Hiroki Kuroda -- Dodgers. Kuroda's been a bit overlooked on the national stage, as he truly is a strong pitcher. The Dodgers want -- need -- to contend, so they'll make sure Kuroda goes nowhere. They do need to slash salary, but a lot of that was tied up in Manny Ramirez, so there's plenty for Kuroda.

Lee LHSP: Cliff Lee -- Rangers. Buy into Texas being players for Lee and Lee eschewing the bright lights of New York just as long as the money is there. And it will be. The wife likes having him close to home, he's going to be on a contending team and get his money. There isn't much reason to move to New York.

LHSP: Jorge De La Rosa -- Tigers. Detroit has money to spend and a need in the rotation. De la Rosa will flirt with quite a few teams, Yankees included, but it's Detroit who will step up. It needs a strong pitcher in the rotation to have any hope of contending, and de la Rosa falls right into the bracket the Tigers are comfortable with.

Soriano RHRP: Rafael Soriano -- Angels . L.A. has said all the right things in moving forward with Fernando Rodney as a closer after moving Brian Fuentes, but the Angels bullpen was in tatters all season and Rodney is not good enough to block Soriano, who is one of the best closers in the game but will find a rough market.

RHRP: Joaquin Benoit -- Rays . Benoit's price tag is going to be high, but the Rays will be faced with a barren bullpen. Why not bring back someone they know can do it for them? They can entice Benoit with the possibility -- probability -- about taking over as closer.

LHRP: Scott Downs -- Red Sox. Downs is a Type-A free agent, but Boston will gladly fork over its second-rounder after Crawford gives Tampa Bay its first-rounder. The Red Sox want to beef up their bullpen after years of trolling through cast-offs. Downs has been coveted for a while, and Boston will take the plunge.

LHRP: Brian Fuentes -- Marlins. Florida wants to contend, but needs some help in the bullpen to do so. Knowing the Fish, they won't be looking to spend big at the position, but Fuentes is a nice, safe and affordable pick to be the new closer they want.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com