On one hand, Benitez’s value may never be higher now that he’s healthy and throwing well in spring. Giants fans dislike Benitez, and ownership will take a ton of flak if he blows several saves.
On the other hand, his salary is not a big issue for the Giants, their bullpen is a huge question mark, he seems healthy, and Benitez has his teammates’ respect in the clubhouse. The article mentions a story where Benitez took all the September call-ups out to lunch and bought them two suits apiece, spending maybe $20,000 on the rookies.
I say the Giants should keep him. He’s not a great closer, but this team can’t spare relievers. Brian Wilson closing would be a mess and would anger the fans just as much as Benitez. Speaking of which, unless it’s going to hurt attendance somehow, the fans really shouldn’t be a factor in a player personnel decision.
And what is the return going to be? Maybe a very un-needed Ben Broussard, or perhaps a questionable minor leaguer? Larry LaRue reports that the Mariners are following Benitez closely and would like him back. Reports on J.J. Putz have been positive but they could use some insurance.