The Philadelphia Phillies took a big step toward shoring up their bullpen with the addition of Joaquin Benoit on Monday.
Benoit had two very different seasons in 2016, struggling to the tune of a 5.18 ERA with the Seattle Mariners before eventually being traded at the deadline. He was lights out with the Toronto Blue Jays, however, allowing just one run in 23.2 innings.
Unfortunately, the right-handed pitcher tore his calf attempting to run in from the bullpen in a late-season, bench-clearing brawl. He missed the last week of the regular season and the entire postseason, unable to help the Blue Jays in their eventual loss in the American League Championship Series.
"It's a big loss, no doubt about it," manager John Gibbons said at the time of the injury, per ESPN.com. "He's been so good."
According to sports broadcaster Hazel Mae (via Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet), he was off crutches and throwing off flat ground by mid-October, so the issue shouldn't be a concern going forward.
Assuming he is healthy, Philadelphia should get a big contribution from one of the more consistent relievers in the league. Even with his struggles in Seattle, Benoit has finished the season with a sub-3.00 ERA in six of the last seven seasons and had over 50 strikeouts each year.
The pitcher has spent over 15 years in the major leagues with six different organizations, accumulating 57 wins, 51 saves and a 3.79 ERA.
Benoit could be a major boost for a team that finished with the third-highest bullpen ERA in 2016 at 5.05.
While he is getting up there in age, Benoit has shown he can still be an effective reliever and should make an impact right away with his new team.