The Tigers want to shore up their bully for the 2011 season, so, naturally, they went out and bought one of the better available relievers from the 2010 season, Joaquin Benoit. The Tigers and Benoit agreed to a three-year deal worth $16.5 million, which on the outset seems absurd.
I truly thought major league GMs had moved beyond offering middle relievers three- or four-year deals. The history of those deals is so overwhelmingly negative, and the difficulty of predicting reliever health and performance so evident, the industry seemed to have wised up collectively, to the point where we wouldn’t see those contracts for non-closers
So now we have Detroit giving three years and over $15 million guaranteed to Joaquin Benoit, who signed last winter with Tampa Bay for $700,000 after missing all of 2009 with a sore shoulder. It’s an absolutely brutal contract, with a very low probability of yielding even a zero ROI (meaning they get just what they paid for — never mind coming out ahead).
You truly thought MLB GMs were moving beyond that, huh? What would give you that idea, Keith? The nearly identical contract Brandon Lyon received last offseason?
It’s not ideal, but it’s difficult to move beyond that when it’s the MFtrend being set. These relievers and their penny-pinching agents aren’t budging and, quite frankly, GMs don’t care if they’re afforded the money like DD is. It’s not exactly fiscally responsible, but so long as it doesn’t prevent the Tigers from going out and nabbing other players they need, who gives a shit if they have to overpay. They got the solid reliever they wanted. Period. Complain all you want, but you’re wasting blogs.
Perhaps Benoit clowned the Tigers and maxed out what could’ve been an aberration of a season, but a healthy Benoit tends to be solid and a more than serviceable reliever, one that I’m definitely happy will be donning the Old English D next season. If Perry continues to improve (hoping), Zumaya stays healthy (grasping), and Valverde finds a happy medium between first-half Valverde and second-half Valverde (dancing), the Tigers are going to have a very strong back end of the bullpen next year. We’ll worry about Benoit’s 2nd and 3rd years when the time comes, but right now I’m too focused on seeing Benoit doing this again in 2011: