Henry Schulman, of the San Francisco Chronicle, reports the Florida Marlins are close to acquiring closer Armando Benitez from the San Francisco Giants. The deal could be announced following the Giants' game against the New York Mets Thursday, May 31. It is unclear what the Giants will receive in return, but it is believed to be a major league player.
The Marlins have been interested in bringing back Benitez since spring training. After relief pitcher Jorge Julio crashed and burned in the closer's role for the Marlins, the team turned to reliever Henry Owens (shoulder) to close out games. Owens then went down with a shoulder injury, and the Marlins opted to use relief pitcher Kevin Gregg as the closer.
Benitez may immediately step into the closer's role for the Marlins. With the Giants this season, Benitez was 0-3 with nine saves and a 4.67 ERA. As a member of the Marlins in 2004, Benitez was 2-2 with 47 saves and an unbelievable 1.29 ERA.
Benitez fell out of favor with the Giants, and a fresh start with the Marlins
might be just what he needs. This trade decreases the fantasy value for both
Owens and Gregg. However, Benitez has been injury-prone during his career. If
he gets hurt or pulls a Jorge Julio on the Marlins,
Owens or Gregg could be in line for saves again. It is probably a good idea
for owners to hold on to Owens and Gregg for now; it's not even a certainty
that Benitez takes over the job right away. Owens and Gregg both did a fine
job during their runs as closer.
With Benitez gone, the Giants will likely turn to
relief pitcher Brad Hennessey in save situations.
So far this season, Hennessey is 1-1 with two saves and a 2.82 ERA and a 1.03
WHIP, although he only has 14 strikeouts in 22 1/3 innings. Regardless, he is
worth an immediate pickup in all formats.
About Mike Barner
Mike Barner has been a KFFL Hot Off The Wire Analyst and KFFL contributing writer since 2007.
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