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article imageTigers reach 3-year deal with reliever Benoit

By Matt Harding     Nov 17, 2010 in Sports
On Wednesday, the Detroit Tigers bolstered their bullpen by acquiring free agent Joaquin Benoit. The setup man will receive $16.5 million over a contract lasting three years.
No official comment or announcement by the Tiger’s organization has been made, perhaps due to a pending physical.
Benoit missed all of the 2009 season recovering from rotator cuff surgery on his pitching shoulder. The reliever pitched with the Tampa Bay Rays last season, starting off the year signed to a minor league deal. The Tigers had interest in him before the Rays snatched him up last season; however, they were leery of signing him after his major injury. His recovery, however, was clearly evidenced during the 2010 season.
The Dominican pitcher threw very well with the playoff-bound Rays this past season. His 1.34 ERA was ranked first in the American League among relievers who appeared in more than 60 games. Benoit’s other stats don’t look too shabby either. He went 1-2, gave up only 30 hits, six home runs, and walked just 11 batters. His opponents’ batting average was a mere .194.
In seven full seasons with the Texas Rangers, Benoit’s ERA averaged at 4.70, far from his spectacular 2010 season. So, with his signing, his consistency comes into question. How will Benoit do with the Tigers in 2011? The Tigers bullpen has been an issue for a number of years. With the addition of Benoit, the ‘Bless You Boys’ strengthen their bullpen and their rotation. The reason, you ask? The Tigers plan on moving their 2010 setup man, Phil Coke, into the starting rotation while Benoit will fill his void.
These changes are most likely the first two of many for the Tigers this offseason. The deal acquiring Benoit has been one of the most notable since the season ended. Other prominent free agents include Victor Martinez, Cliff Lee, and Derek Jeter.
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