2017 Phillies Report Card: Joaquin Benoit
The 2016 Phillies had the 3rd worst bullpen ERA in baseball at 5.05. The Phillies entered the offseason looking to provide some stability to the late innings and signed Joaquin Benoit to go along with earlier acquisition Pat Neshek.
Whereas Neshek was coming off a subpar year, Benoit had just gotten off a great end of the year with the Blue Jays (23.2 IP 0.38 ERA) after coming over in a trade from Seattle. More than just trying to build on a hot end of year, Benoit truly represented some stability for the Phillies. From 2010 to 2016, Benoit pitched in 439 games (427.0 IP) with a 2.40 ERA and a 3.23 FIP. Despite some time as a closer with Detroit and San Diego, Benoit had developed a reputation as a solid 8th inning reliever. Thanks to an ill advised decision to have Jeanmar Gomez open as the closer, Benoit opened as a 6th/7th inning arm for the Phillies.
After Gomez lost the closer’s job, Benoit was promoted past Hector Neris into the closer’s role. After a successful save on April 15, Benoit allowed Bryce Harper to murder a baseball:
He was promptly banished back to the 8th inning, where he rattled off 7 straight scoreless appearances before blowing a game in the 8th to the Cubs. Then on May 10th against the Mariners he did this:
- Double (1 run scores)
- Double (3 runs score)
Edubray Ramos would bring that last run home, bringing the total to 5 runs. Benoit then continued a pattern of looking competent with 8 scoreless outings before landing on the DL with a left knee injury. After returning from the DL, Benoit blew another game in June and lost two more in July, bringing him into the trade deadline at:
44 G, 42.0 IP, 1-4, 3 BS, 4.07 ERA
Benoit’s ERA and FIP were better than the full experience felt. He had contributed directly to 6 losses and a lot more innings that felt like pending losses. The fanbase was ready to cut him.
And Klentak managed to trade him.
The Phillies ate money on the remaining part of his $7.5M contract and sent him to Pittsburgh for minor league reliever Seth McGarry. McGarry would have it rough down the stretch for Clearwater, and right now does not look like anything special, but Benoit was gone.
Benoit’s numbers were better than the experience felt. His contributions to destabilizing the bullpen and digging the Phillies into a deep hole might have earned him an D- or F had he stayed in Philly the whole year. However, he was traded, and that allows us to look at his season a bit more objectively. Also, he gets a slight bump because it is funny that he ended up on the Pirates roster at the end of the year and the Phillies got Juan Nicasio for free.