We learned yesterday that the Detroit Tigers have potential interest in bringing reliever Joakim Soria back to the club on a free agent contract this season. Today we learn of the availability of another former Tigers player who fits an offseason need:
Whoops, it looks like the wrong tweet got embeded here. Ryan Raburn should certainly not be pursued by the Tigers this offseason. We wouldn’t be able to turn on sports radio or log onto Twitter for fear of the world melting. Here’s the real tweet:
Joaquin Benoit! He’s the guy the Tigers could have interest in. The San Diego Padres recently announced they were exercising Benoit’s $7.5 million option for the 2016 season, but Buster Olney is reporting that the Padres would be open to trading him this offseason.
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Benoit pitched three seasons in Detroit (2011-2013) and put up a very good 2.89 ERA line while striking out 9.9 batters per nine innings. He continued that success in San Diego the last two seasons with a 1.96 ERA and 9.6 strikeouts per nine innings.
Benoit likely benefited from a pitcher-friendly park while with the Padres — his secondary statistics (strikeout rate, walk rate, and xFIP) all took a hit last year despite a sub-2.50 ERA — but the 38-year old should still have at least one solid year of relief pitching left in him.
As with any transaction, the price has to be right. His 2016 salary of $7.5 million isn’t cost prohibitive (and it’s a fair price), but the Padres would also be asking for prospect(s) in return which would tip the scales into potential overpay range.
There are probably better relief options out there for the price — Antonio Bastardo in free agency perhaps — but the Detroit Tigers have major work to do with their pitching staff and should at least investigate all potential options.