As most Tigers fans know, the club made one of the first splashes of the free agent season by signing Joaquin Benoit to a three-year deal worth at least $16.5 million. Not bad if you’re Benoit. Benoit is 33 years old and is coming off a career year with the Tampa Bay Rays.
Here’s a quick snapshot of his Benoit’s career:
- Played in the bigs with the Rangers from 2001-2008.
- Career ERA of 4.47 (ERA+ 105)
- Was a starter in the minors and his first few seasons with the Rangers.
- Missed all of 2009 due to an injury.
- 1.34 ERA last season for Tampa (ERA+ 295)
- Career WHIP of 1.34, 0.68 last season.
Benoit has posted three seasons with an ERA+ of 100 or better, obviously doing so last season. He has a live fastball and has always put up pretty good K rates.
In 2010, Benoit put up the following numbers:
Using 60 innings as our minimum, we’ll compare Benoit’s 2010 numbers to the last Tiger to match the numbers:
- 1.34 ERA: John Hiller came the closes with a 1.44 mark in 1973. More recently, Joel Zumaya had a 1.94 ERA back in 2006.
- 0.68 WHIP: Willie Hernandez came the closest with a pair of 0.90 seasons in 1984 and 1985.
- 4.5 Hits per 9 innings: Joel Zumaya came the closest during his dominant 2006 season, but still does not compare to Benoit’s 2010 season.
- 11.2 K/9: John Hiller had a mark of 11.08 back in 1975. Zumaya was second on the list with a 10.48 mark in 2006.
You could certainly make the argument that if Benoit is able to replicate his 2010 season it will be the finest season ever by a Tigers relief pitcher. However, the odds are not great that Benoit will repeat his 2010 season in any of the next three seasons. But, if the Tigers can get a guy a tick worse than that, they are getting a pretty good deal.
Here’s hoping that Benoit can stay healthy while in Detroit.