The Detroit Tigers free agency needs this season start and end in the bullpen. With Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez and Torii Hunter in the line-up the Tigers have more than enough offense to get them to the World Series. It was their bullpen that let them down last year.
The Tigers need to make wholesale changes to their bullpen. Drew Smyly has already been ear marked to move to the starting rotation. Jose Veras has left for free agency, and Phil Coke can’t be trusted with the game on the line.
Joaquin Benoit is also a free agent and was the only dependable arm (other than Smyly) in the bullpen last year. The Tigers should make signing Benoit their number one free agent target this offseason.
Signing Benoit will stop the bleeding in the and make filling the remaining needs in free agency a little easier.
In his three years of work as a Tiger, Joaquin Benoit was 13-7 with a 2.89 ERA and 28 saves. Whether the Tigers choose to use Benoit as the closer or a set-up man, it will be difficult to replace those numbers on the free agent market.
That said, signing Benoit won’t be cheap. He just finished a 3 year contract that paid him 5.5 million a year. Even with his age you can’t plan on getting Benoit for much of a discount in 2014.
Although he will be pricey, Benoit would be worth signing. He has been the only truly consistent pitcher in the bullpen. If used properly there is no reason to believe that won’t continue.