This off-season the Detroit Tigers signed reliever Joaquin Benoit to a three-year, $16.5 million contract. The contract raised eyebrows all around the world of baseball. GM Dave Dombrowski rarely tenders three-year deals to relievers, let alone deals that long and expensive to 33 year-old set-up men.
The jaw-dropping deal paved the way for a plethora of three-year deals to set-up men this off-season around the league. Seriously, Three-year deals were handed out like Halloween Candy. Step-up to the door, ring the doorbell and accept your fat three-year deal.
As unsure as I was about the investment, I was quite pleased that we had added Benoit to our bullpen. As a Central Florida resident I had the opportunity to watch a great deal of his success last season. How great was his 2010 season you might ask? Benoit posted a stellar 1.34 ERA and 75/11 K/BB ratio in 60 1/3 innings for the Tampa Bay Rays last season.
This spring Benoit is quietly continuing where he left off last season with Tampa. In seven innings of work he has yet to allow a run. He has struck out ten and allowed just five base-runners. With Joel Zumaya sidelined for an undisclosed amount of time, the addition of Benoit still gives the Tigers an above average bullpen.
So maybe it is only March, but I am quite pleased with Joaquin Benoit so far. Hopefully, this small sample size of data is a preview of what we have in store for us this season from Mr. Benoit.