Interest in Joaquin Benoit has started to pick up as expected, despite various reports that the San Diego Padres may choose to hang onto the veteran right-hander. San Diego’s plans remain uncertain, especially considering Benoit stepped into the closer’s role after the team traded Huston Street earlier this month.
Both the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers have expressed some interest in Benoit, according to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal first reported the Dodgers’ interest earlier in the day Wednesday, noting that the Padres would prefer not to deal him within the division if they do make a move.
Now 37, Benoit has pitched extraordinarily well out of the Padres’ bullpen this season. He’s made 42 appearances during which he’s posted a 1.88 ERA, 0.837 WHIP, and 10.7 K/9. San Diego signed Benoit to a two year, $15.5 Million deal this past offseason. He has roughly $2 Million remaining on his salary this season and will earn $8 Million next. The contract also includes a team option for 2016 for $8 Million.
The Yankees have primarily been searching for help for their starting rotation, though Heyman notes that they’ve had difficulty finding a deal that makes sense for the club so shifting gears to strengthen the bullpen would be a logical move. The fact that Benoit would be under team control next season could also appeal to them, particularly with David Robertson facing free agency this offseason. The Dodgers have been known to be looking for bullpen help for much of the past few weeks, so their interest in Benoit – one of the more production relievers who could be available – comes at little surprise.
It remains to be seen what the Padres will ask for in return from either club in a potential deal.