The Mariners Thursday acquired RHP Joaquin Benoit from the San Diego Padres in exchange for minor league RHP Enyel De Los Santos and minor league INF Nelson Ward. The 38-year-old Benoit, a veteran of 14 major league seasons, went 6-5 with two saves and a 2.34 ERA in 67 relief appearances last year.
“Joaquin is a proven late-game presence who brings both stability and impact to the back end of our bullpen,” said GM Jerry Dipoto. “We value his experience, track record of durability and consistently high-end performance.”
Benoit produced a 0.90 WHIP last season following a 0.77 mark in 2014. Opposing hitters batted .159 against him and were held to a .242 OBP. Right-handers hit only .144/.250/.221, lowest batting average against of any NL pitcher to have faced 100-plus right-handed batters.
The 6-foot-4, 250-pound Benoit has played for Texas (2001-08), Tampa Bay (2010), Detroit (2011-13) and San Diego (2014-15). He has a combined record of 54-42 with 50 saves and a 3.84 ERA. For his career, Benoit has limited opposing hitters to a .223 batting average.
“He was a target for us as we went into the offseason,” Dipoto said. “We’re happy to bring him aboard. He’s nearing 40 years old but he hasn’t lost his effectiveness. He still throws in the mid-to-upper 90s. He’s got three pitches for an out-pitch, and his change is lights out.
“Where he pitches in the game is going to be up to (manager) Scott Servais and (pitching coach) Mel Stottlemyre. Whether it’s in a set-up role or a closing role has yet to be determined. But he’s been a sought-after commodity on the trade market for a long time.”
De Los Santos, 19, began his pro career by splitting last season between rookie Peoria and short-A Everett, going 6-0 with a 3.47 ERA in 13 starts. Ward, 23, split last season between A Clinton and High-A Bakersfield, batting .278 with 81 runs scored and nine home runs. His 13th triples led all Mariners farmhands, finishing T4th among all minor league players.
The Mariners hired Scott Brosius as a Triple A hitting coach. Brosius appeared in parts of 11 MLB seasons with Oakland (1991-1997) and New York-AL (1998-2001), batting .257 with 544 runs scored, 200 doubles, eight triples, 141 home runs, 531 RBIs and 57 walks over 1,146 career games.