In late October, the Pirates and Marlins completed a trade that looked to lopsided (to use a diplomatic term), heavily favoring the Pirates. Miami sent right-hander Trevor Williams, one of the organization’s top overall prospects, to the Pirates in exchange for rookie-ball right-hander Richard Mitchell, who wasn’t ranked among the Pirates’ top prospects. ESPN’s Jayson Stark now reports that the swap was made as compensation for the Pirates, who a day prior allowed special assistant Jim Benedict (a renowned pitching and development guru) to take a new position with the Marlins. (MLBTR’s Charlie Wilmoth speculated on that being the case at the time.)
The Pirates, according to Stark, demanded some form of compensation for allowing Benedict to depart, and the highly touted Williams was determined to be a fitting return. As Stark explains, the Pirates initially balked at the idea of allowing Benedict to join the Marlins because he was still under contract and because they’d already let one executive, Marc Delpiano, take a position with Miami this offseason. Stark spoke to execs from multiple clubs that explained its common within the industry to let an exec depart for a better opportunity with a new club, but allowing a second executive to join that same club typically doesn’t fly. As such, the two sides worked out this swap as a means of compensation.
Pittsburgh, of course, has a strong reputation as a team that revitalizes the careers of struggling pitchers or, in some cases, turns average pitchers into stars. While pitching coach Ray Searage receives the bulk of credit for those turnarounds, Benedict is highly regarded in his own right and has drawn plenty of media praise for his work with Pirates pitchers.
With the Pirates, Benedict played a large role in advance scouting and worked with pitchers at every level of the organization. He’ll have an even more expanded role in Miami, according to Stark, where he will have a voice in the Marlins’ draft selections and oversee the entire organization’s pitching development.