The Tigers spent $16.5MM on Joaquin Benoit because they considered him one of the best available relievers. And because a couple other clubs also made three-year offers, anything less would have fallen short. Detroit GM Dave Dombrowski says the Tigers did not like the idea of losing Benoit to one of his other suitors.
"When you want to get the best players at certain positions, you have to be aggressive and prepared to do things," Dombrowski said on a conference call this morning.
The Tigers will use Benoit as a setup man to closer Jose Valverde in 2011. They have considered adding another left-handed reliever to a bullpen that could include southpaws Daniel Schlereth and Brad Thomas, but Dombrowski says it's not a priority because Valverde and Benoit are effective against hitters from both sides of the plate.
The Tigers are not expecting Benoit to post a 1.34 ERA again, but they believe he'll be a top setup man as long as he's healthy. The 33-year-old passed his physical and says his 2010 production shows he's just fine.
"For me last year it was just to see how my arm was going to respond," Benoit said. "Obviously it came back really good."
Dombrowski says the Tigers have been signing players aggressively since they had a number of free agents and were prepared to make offers right away. But they're not done yet.
"We're still in a position where we think we can make a move and solidify the middle of our lineup with someone," Dombrowski said.