AL Central Notes: Benoit, Chisenhall, Fuld

It was on this day in 2009 that Mark Fidrych died at age 54 as the result of a freak truck repair accident.  Fidrych burst onto the scene as a Tigers rookie in 1976, posting a 2.34 ERA over 250 1/3 innings, starting the All-Star Game for the American League and capturing the AL Rookie Of The Year Award in the process.  His pitching aside, "The Bird" was even better known for his unique personality and quirky mound habits (such as talking to the ball or personally smoothing out cleat marks on the mound), as well as appearing on perhaps the greatest cover in Sports Illustrated history.  Though Fidrych's career was short, baseball fans will never forget one of the game's great characters.  The MLBTR staff extends our condolences to Fidrych's family and friends on this anniversary of his passing.

Here's the latest from around the AL Central…

  • Joaquin Benoit and Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski both had nothing but good things to say about the veteran reliever's tenure in Motown, but the Tigers didn't make Benoit a contract offer last winter.  Dombrowski tells John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press that “When it came down to it, we had Joe Nathan over Joaquin as a closer, and that’s the direction we decided to pursue.  We kept a pulse of his free-agent situation all winter long. But it just looked like he was going to (cost) a little more than we wanted to pay for a set-up guy."  Benoit ended up signing a two-year, $15.5MM deal with the Padres.
  • Lonnie Chisenhall is hitting well but could be the victim of a roster crunch, so a reader asked Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer (as part of a mailbag piece) if the Indians could possibly deal the third baseman.  Hoynes believes it's generally too early for teams to be exploring the trade market, barring an injury, and Chisenhall is still an unproven commodity at the Major League level.  Since Chisenhall is 25 years old and only a couple of years removed from being regarded as the Tribe's top prospect, I'd think Cleveland would need a big return to consider moving Chisenhall, even though Carlos Santana has seemingly taken over at third base.
  • Sam Fuld could be an interesting pickup for the Twins, 1500ESPN.com's Derek Wetmore opines, as he would add depth to a Minnesota team that is thin on outfield options.  The Athletics designated Fuld for assignment yesterday.


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9 Comments on "AL Central Notes: Benoit, Chisenhall, Fuld"


tom1998
1 year 4 months ago

Would fuld be a good fit in Chicago to replace Garcia or are danks and viciedo better alternatives?

0vercast
1 year 4 months ago

Sam Fuld would be a fine pickup for the Twins right now. The Target Field OF is a little spacious for both Kubel and Colabello to be out there at the same time. Plus, Fuld is basically the OF version of Little Nicky Punto (LNP), who had a large following here due to his Grit, Hustle, and Getafteritness. We’ll take him!

gil4
1 year 4 months ago

LNP had a following of one. Unfortunately, that one was Gardy.

0vercast
1 year 4 months ago

I saw it differently. We had tickets a stone’s throw from the dugout, and the ladies loved Nick Punto. They thought he was a stud. No joke.

He was fun to watch too. Always unnecessarily diving and getting his uniform dirty, grimacing frightfully with every throw to first, throwing his batting gloves comically after every strikeout, etc.

All jokes aside, Punto was the butt of many jokes for his on-field play, but off the field, I think he was more valuable to the Twins than most fans give him credit for. The departure of clubhouse leaders like Punto, Nathan, and Cuddyer marked the beginning of dark days in Twins Territory. Those guys played their tails off, and it was infectious.

gil4
1 year 4 months ago

I didn’t know he was such a ladies man.

Some years he was a good player, others he was marginal (very up and down). He was useful but limited, an asset if the price was right, but way overpaid his last two years with the Twins, which was a problem for a team trying to contend on a tight budget.
Mis-cast as a starter, valuable as a utility guy, if the Twins could have kept him for what the Cards gave him the year he left (under $1M) I would have been all for it (despite the ridiculous head-first slides into first.) .

Mike1L
1 year 4 months ago

What a shame about Fidrych. What people forget is that he did those 250 innings with his first start May 15 (he had two relief stints before that.) In his 3rd and 4th starts, he went 11 innings each. In August he had 7 starts, 63.1 innings.

tom
1 year 4 months ago

i was in detroit on bussiness in 1980 when the meeting i had scheduled got canceled(was told later that the guy i was to meet with had a heart attack, always thought it a flimsy excuse.). went over to tiger stadium to catch the game instead. the bird was pitching, only lasted a few innings, one of my favorite memories.

gil4
1 year 4 months ago

Sometimes it’s fun to check out the box score and compare it to your memory. Here is is game log for 1980:
http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/gl.cgi?id=fidryma01&t=p&year=

Best guess is it was Aug 28 vs. Brewers (W 11-7, 2.0 IP) or maybe Aug 17 vs. Tex (L 9-3, 4.2 IP).

kungfucampby
1 year 4 months ago

Tigers should have re-signed Benoit as a setup man because that bullpen is a dumpster fire.