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Putting Joaquin Benoit in Perspective

ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 09:  Pitcher Joaquin Benoit #53 of the Tampa Bay Rays throws against the Texas Rangers during game 3 of the ALDS at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on October 9, 2010 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Blake VandeBunteContributor INovember 18, 2010

As most Tigers fans know, the club made one of the first splashes of the free agent season by signing Joaquin Benoit to a three-year deal worth at least $16.5 million.  Not bad if you’re Benoit.  Benoit is 33 years old and is coming off a career year with the Tampa Bay Rays.

Here’s a quick snapshot of his Benoit’s career:

- Played in the bigs with the Rangers from 2001-2008.
- Career ERA of 4.47 (ERA+ 105)
- Was a starter in the minors and his first few seasons with the Rangers.
- Missed all of 2009 due to an injury.
- 1.34 ERA last season for Tampa (ERA+ 295)
- Career WHIP of 1.34, 0.68 last season.

Benoit has posted three seasons with an ERA+ of 100 or better, obviously doing so last season.  He has a live fastball and has always put up pretty good K rates.

In 2010, Benoit put up the following numbers:

60.1 innings
1.34 ERA
0.68 WHIP
4.5 H/9
1.6 BB/9
11.2 K/9
6.82 K/BB

Using 60 innings as our minimum, we’ll compare Benoit’s 2010 numbers to the last Tiger to match the numbers:

- 1.34 ERA:  John Hiller came the closes with a 1.44 mark in 1973.  More recently, Joel Zumaya had a 1.94 ERA back in 2006.

- 0.68 WHIP: Willie Hernandez came the closest with a pair of 0.90 seasons in 1984 and 1985.

- 4.5 Hits per 9 innings: Joel Zumaya came the closest during his dominant 2006 season, but still does not compare to Benoit’s 2010 season.

- 11.2 K/9: John Hiller had a mark of 11.08 back in 1975.  Zumaya was second on the list with a 10.48 mark in 2006.

You could certainly make the argument that if Benoit is able to replicate his 2010 season it will be the finest season ever by a Tigers relief pitcher.  However, the odds are not great that Benoit will repeat his 2010 season in any of the next three seasons.  But, if the Tigers can get a guy a tick worse than that, they are getting a pretty good deal.

Here’s hoping that Benoit can stay healthy while in Detroit.

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