Armando Benitez Rumors

Benitez is Gone

Earlier today, I speculated that Armando Benitez could find a new home in no time.  A couple of hours ago, I read that the Giants were going to change things up.  It’s already settled: Benitez was sent to Florida (along with some cash, presumably) for Randy Messenger.

Benitez would appear to step right into the closer’s role for Florida, while the Giants will now turn to Brad Hennessey.  I can’t wait until the Marlins take their next trip to Shea Stadium: I’ll bet that’s a trip Benitez would prefer to skip.

By Jeff Sackmann
Brew Crew Ball



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Jeff Passan’s Most Overpaid Team

Here’s an interesting article from the Yahoo columnist that includes his selections for most overpaid players so far this year.  Some of the blurbs are downright painful, like the reminder that Jason Kendall is earning more than $13M for this year’s "production."

I bring it up because overpaid players are so often a source of trade rumors on a thin market.  After all, do you think it would take much to pry Kendall away from the A’s?  Shea Hillenbrand away from the Angels?  It seems that clubs falling in the standings with money to burn (Yankees, anyone?) can always take on more salary, making deals like last year’s Bobby Abreu acquisition, which cost little more than money.

The All-Overpaid team doesn’t have a lot of candidates for that sort of deal, because many of the players are already playing for one of the rich teams, or–in Kendall’s case–aren’t going to be coveted by anybody.  But there are a few candidates.  The most notable is Scott Rolen.  I would be surprised if he were traded, but if Walt Jocketty found a GM more optimistic about Rolen’s decline years than he is, the Cards could certain use the payroll flexibility. 

The other names that pop out are relievers Armando Benitez and Scott Eyre.  Benitez was rumored in some salary-dump swaps in the offseason, and if he strings together a couple more poor outings, he could end up out of the 9th inning.  If that’s the case, he could end up a poor man’s (well…maybe "poor" isn’t the best way to put it) version of 2006 Francisco Cordero.  Eyre doesn’t offer the same potential, but the further he sinks into Lou Piniella’s doghouse, the more likely he’ll have a chance to return to form in a new uniform.

By Jeff Sackmann
Brew Crew Ball



Marlins, Mariners Still Scouting Benitez

To hear Armando Benitez tell it, the Giants would regret trading him.  That’s probably true, but it speaks more to the sorry state of their bullpen than his abilities.

According to Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News, the Marlins and Mariners scouted his performance yesterday.  Baggarly mentions other previously interested clubs: the Reds and Red Sox.  I imagine the Sox will back off now, assuming they were interested in the first place.

As far as Seattle’s needs, reports are positive on J.J. Putz.  Back when we assumed he was healthy, he was a bit undervalued in fantasy baseball.  Now with an elbow scare, I think he can be an absolute bargain if he drops to the 10-12th round.

The Marlins have internal options comparable to Benitez in skill, if not track record.  The Giants will probably hang on to their closer unless a viable replacement emerges.




Marlins Lean Toward Benitez Over Julio

The Marlins are still very much interested in acquiring Armando Benitez or Jorge Julio to front their bullpen, according to MLB.com. 

A Benitez deal is more likely because apparently the Giants will pick up most of Benitez’s contract.  Julio makes $3.6MM to Benitez’s $7.6MM, but the D’Backs may not want to chip in at all.

Can the Marlins continue their string of resurrected closers? The parade includes Joe Borowski, Todd Jones, and Benitez. They’ve also had twenty save seasons this decade from Braden Looper, Vladimir Nunez, and Antonio Alfonseca.



The Marlins are still very

The Marlins are still very much interested in acquiring Armando Benitez or Jorge Julio to front their bullpen, according to MLB.com. 

A Benitez deal is more likely because apparently the Giants will pick up most of Benitez’s contract.  Julio makes $3.6MM to Benitez’s $7.6MM, but the D’Backs may not want to chip in at all.

Can the Marlins continue their string of resurrected closers? The parade includes Joe Borowski, Todd Jones, and Benitez. They’ve also had twenty save seasons this decade from Braden Looper, Vladimir Nunez, and Antonio Alfonseca.



Latest On Armando Benitez

Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News has a good article up discussing the Giants’ quandary with reliever Armando Benitez

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.   



Reds, Marlins Interested In Benitez

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the Marlins and Reds are the two clubs currently interested in Giants reliever Armando Benitez.  This is the first word of Cincinnati’s interest.

Benitez has been looking good this spring and is pitching with confidence.  One report last week said the Giants would eat all but a million bucks of his salary, but another said the Giants would eat less than half.  If the latter is accurate then the Marlins may not want to be involved.  I really think their internal options are just as good as Benitez. 



Benitez Interest Limited?

Sean McAdam of the Providence Journal has a Giants source who indicated that the Marlins are the only team so far to show interest in Armando Benitez.  With another dire report on J.J. Putz‘s elbow, perhaps the Mariners will reconsider.  If they think he could handle the pressure, perhaps the Phillies would get involved.

The Benitez discussion seems to have grown old for some Giants fans.

Aside from Benitez and Jorge Julio, possibly available relievers include Byung-Hyun Kim, Scott Linebrink, Chad Cordero, Akinori Otsuka, Rheal Cormier, Rudy Seanez, Rick Bauer, and Scott Feldman.



Marlins, Mariners Interested In Benitez

This morning, Mike Berardino of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel mentioned that the Marlins had two scouts on hand for Armando Benitez‘s Tuesday night appearance.  The Fish would’ve sent scouts to his first appearance but the Giants didn’t give them a heads up.

Berardino talked to a scout who had Benitez at 92-94 mph and looking loose.  Berardino speculates that the Marlins would only need to pay about a million of Benitez’s $7.6MM salary.  Are the Giants that desperate to get rid of him despite their questionable bullpen?

Then John Hickey of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer mentioned today that the Mariners also had two scouts at the game.  Benitez would be used to set up J.J. Putz.  The Mariners are said to find Jeremy Reed and Ben Broussard expendable.  For Reed, I think the Giants should make the deal.  Hickey mentioned that 40 scouts were at the game because it was the only one in town.  So we could probably connect Benitez to most clubs at this point. 

Maybe the three clubs can work something out where Reed ends up a Marlin?

UPDATE: According to the Boston Herald, the Red Sox have never talked to the Giants about Benitez.

UPDATE 2: The Mariners are out on Benitez.  This is like the Juan Gonzalez denials or something.  John Hickey says the Giants won’t even swallow half of Benitez’s salary, which contradicts other reports that suggested they’d eat over 85% of it. 



Marlins Trade Rumors

The Fish might do some minor dealing in the coming days.  Let’s see what they have cooking.

For one, Mike Berardino of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel thinks they should bring Armando Benitez back, now that he’s healthy.  He says it would probably only cost the Marlins a million bucks in addition to the player(s) they trade.  Benitez says he hasn’t been in shape like he is now since he played for the Orioles.

The Marlins may have their eye on a couple of Red Sox: center fielder David Murphy and pitcher Kyle Snyder.  The Nationals also have interest in Snyder.  Snyder, 29, hails from Florida for what that’s worth.  He can probably post an ERA below 5 in the NL, so he belongs on someone’s roster.  Murphy still has a chance to become a credible CF, especially if his new build adds a little power.  Houston also likes Murphy.

Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post has another tidbit: though the Marlins scouted Jorge Julio, they’re not close to proposing a deal.

Finally, the Marlins have no interest in Javy Lopez but are drawing interest for outfielder Cody Ross.