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Joaquin Benoit

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Joaquin Antonio Benoit Pena

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 6' 3", Weight 205 lb.

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[edit] Biographical Information

Joaquin Benoit spent his first 8 major league seasons with the Texas Rangers, being used regularly as a starter from 2001 to 2005, then exclusively as a reliever from 2006 to 2008. He had his best season for them in 2007, when he saved 6 games and went 7-4 with a 2.85 ERA and 87 strikeouts in 82 innings. However, he began experiencing arm problems the following season, when his ERA jumped to 5.00, and he missed all of 2009. He resurfaced in 2010 with the Tampa Bay Rays where he found tremendous success as a set-up man for closer Rafael Soriano, posting an ERA of 1.34 in 63 games.

On September 3, 2002, Benoit recorded the longest save in major league history, pitching 7 innings in relief of Todd Van Poppel, who earned the win after replacing Aaron Myette who was ejected after throwing only two pitches. He allowed one run on one hit in the 7-1 win over the Baltimore Orioles; that hit was a 9th-inning triple by Jerry Hairston, and the only one surrendered by the Rangers that day.

On November 17, 2010, Benoit signed as a free agent with the Detroit Tigers, inking a three-year deal worth $16.5 million. In his first season with the Tigers in 2011, he was 4-3 with a 2.95 ERA in 66 games acting as the set-up man for Jose Valverde, who also had an outstanding season. He struck out 63 in 61 innings, giving up only 47 hits and 17 walks. He did not allow a run over his final 22 innings. In the postseason, he gave up a single earned run in 7 1/3 innings over 5 appearances. He had another good year in 2012, going 5-3, 3.68 in 73 appearances, striking out 84 in 71 innings. He then gave up 2 runs in 3 innings against the Oakland Athletics in the ALDS, but followed that by giving up no runs in the ALCS or World Series, although that only represented three outings, given the Tigers won easily against the New York Yankees in the ALCS, and then never had a lead to hold in the Fall Classic as they were swept by the San Francisco Giants.

In 2013, the Tigers struggled to find a closer in the early going, but manager Jim Leyland wanted to keep Benoit in his familiar set-up role. However, when Jose Valverde was brought back from the dead and failed to do the job, there was no choice but to turn to Benoit, and he did well, notching 24 saves while going 4-1, 2.01 in 67 games. He then saved two games against the Athletics in the Division Series and another one in the ALCS, although he did not pitch particularly well, giving up 4 runs in 5 2/3 innings over 6 outings. The key moment was the grand slam homer he gave up to David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox in Game 2, which turned around the series. After the season, he became a free agent again and signed with the San Diego Padres on December 18th for two years at $15.5 million.

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