7:42pm: Benoit’s option is actually for $7.5MM and carried a $1MM buyout as opposed to $8MM with a $1.5MM buyout, according to MLB.com’s Corey Brock. Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune tweets that the buyout on the option could’ve escalated based on games finished, but the acquisition of Craig Kimbrel, of course, kept that from happening.
6:17pm: The Padres announced (Twitter link) that they’ve exercised their $8MM club option on right-hander Joaquin Benoit and declined their $2MM club option on Clint Barmes. Benoit’s option came with a $1.5MM buyout, meaning the decision essentially boiled down to whether or not the club valued him on a one-year, $6.5MM contract. Barmes will be paid a $200K buyout instead of the $2MM value of his option. I explored both situations recently while previewing the Padres’ offseason, noting that these outcomes were likely.
Benoit, 38, posted a stellar 2.34 ERA with 8.7 K/9, 3.2 BB/9 and a 46.3 percent ground-ball rate in 65 1/3 innings for the Friars in 2015. Detractors will note that both his strikeout and walk rates trended in the wrong direction, and his velocity declined a bit, while ERA estimators like FIP, xFIP and SIERA all feel that Benoit’s ERA is due to rise into the mid-3.00s. However, Benoit’s been able to maintain better-than-average marks in BABIP and strand rate, helping him to continually outperform said metrics.
As I noted in the above-linked offseason outlook, by exercising Benoit’s option, the Padres are effectively raising their payroll north of their 2015 Opening Day mark despite the fact that they have quite a bit of work to do this winter. Between Benoit, Matt Kemp, James Shields, Jedd Gyorko, Melvin Upton and Alexi Amarista, the team already has $82.25MM committed to the 2016 payroll. That doesn’t include significant arbitration raises to Tyson Ross, Andrew Cashner, Yonder Alonso, Derek Norris and Will Middlebrooks and league-minimum players to round out the roster, which could bring the total to as much as $112MM.
Barmes, on the other hand, batted .232/.281/.353 in 224 plate appearances with the Padres in 2015. Of course, offense has never been Barmes’ calling card; he’s been best-known for his defensive prowess at shortstop for much of his career. Defensive metrics such as Defensive Runs Saved and Ultimate Zone Rating indicated that the 36-year-old’s glovework took a step backward this year, but his strong track record in that regard should lead to some interest on the free agent market this winter as Barmes prepares for his age-37 season.
Well hopefully Benoit can keep outperforming his metrics.
Somebody with a big contract is getting traded if Padres plan to sign even one above B grade free agent. Or ownership is going to expand the budget which would be great news.
I could see them trading someone like Kimbrel and maybe packaging him with someone else.
The Benoit option gives SD the option of trading Kimbrel, but the scouts must do their homework and aquire good arms for the bullpen