With Jose Valverde locked up as the closer and Joel Zumaya's future uncertain, the Tigers came into the offseason looking for help for the 7th and 8th innings. And according to Enrique Rojas, they've found it, signing righty setup man Joaquin Benoit to a three-year contract worth $16.5 million.
The 33-year-old Benoit missed the entire 2009 season following shoulder surgery. However, he came back in 2010 with guns a'blazing, posting a 1.34 ERA while striking out 75 in 60.1 innings for the Rays. His fastball was up in the mid- to high-90s, and he also featured a sharp slider and a solid change.
Whether Benoit is a smart add for three years is an open question, but there's no questioning his ability at this moment. And given that he previously excelled in relief with the Rangers in 2007, there is at least a history of his having good success in the later innings.
Benoit's contract comes with $1 million extra each season in incentives. Read more over at Bless You Boys.