Last season a big problem for the Seattle Mariners was the bullpen, which was ranked 25th in the league. The team got some much needed bullpen help today, acquiring top relief pitcher Joaquin Benoit from the San Diego Padres for minor league right-handed pitcher Enyel De Los Santos and infielder Nelson Ward. Expect this to be one of many moves Seattle makes this offseason, since the team still has holes to fill on the team.
Last season for the Padres in 67 games played, Benoit recorded 2.34 ERA, 2 saves, 62 strikeouts with a WHIP of 0.90. In a losing season for the Padres, Benoit had a pretty good season. He had over 50 strikeouts, this was a drop-off from the amazing 2013 season that Benoit had with an ERA of 1.49 with 64 strikeouts. Still solid numbers for a top setup man like him with more games played.
There is a reason why Benoit is one of the top setup pitchers in the league. He has great command of his pitches and he knows how to throw his pitches into the strike zone. Benoit is not a closer, he is the type of guy that you want in the 7th or 8th inning as your setup guy striking out the side while your closer is getting warmed up for the ninth inning.
This is a great trade for Seattle, the team is in a win right now mode. So acquiring one of the best setup pitchers in the league in Benoit helps your bullpen big time. Benoit is going to give the Mariners bullpen some veteran leadership. Benoit also brings big game experience. The team is losing prospects in Santos and Ward, but when you’re in a win right now situation, you have to give up your prospects to get good talent that can make an impact right now.
San Diego is in retool mode, trying to get young talent for veteran players like Benoit. The team got a good pitching prospect in Santos who went 6-0 with 3.45 ERA in the Arizona League last season, and Ward, who hit for .278 in the minor leagues last season. Both of them will not make an impact right now, but give them a few years and then the team will have some good prospects on the major league roster.
Right now Seattle wins this trade. Getting one of the best setup pitchers in the game will help the team right now in the playoff run that the team wants to go on next season. In the future San Diego wins this trade. The team is retooling so the prospects the team got will take a few years before they can make an impact on the main roster.