By Sam Bush
Reliever Joaquin Benoit and the Phillies finalized a $7.5 million, one-year contract, part of the team’s efforts to rebuild its bullpen.
‘‘It’s important in a bullpen to have different styles of pitchers, right?’’ general manager Matt Klentak said yesterday at the winter meetings in Oxon Hill, Md. ‘‘Ideally, you’d have some righties and some lefties and some more experienced players blended with some younger players, and fastballs and sliders and curveballs.’’
Benoit, a 39-year-old righthander, has had an ERA under 3.00 for six of the past seven years. He was 3-1 with a 2.81 ERA last season, including a 0.38 ERA after the Blue Jays acquired him from Seattle in July for reliever Drew Storen. Benoit averaged 9.75 strikeouts per nine innings.
Over the last seven seasons, Benoit has a 0.98 WHIP, trailing only Kenley Jansen (0.89) and Craig Kimbrel (0.95) around the majors in that span. Benoit has 51 saves in 712 big league games.
The deal comes about a month after the Phillies acquired righty reliever Pat Neshek in a trade with the Astros and exercised a club option for $6.5 million in 2017 for him.