Kris Benson, the 35 year old once-hyped righty who came up with the Pirates, has signed on with Arizona, according to Ken Rosenthal. It's a minor league contract, but unlike most minor league contracts given to veteran players, this one doesn't have any out clauses should Benson fail to make the team.
Benson has only made eight Major League appearances and two Major League starts since 2006, and spent last season floating throughout the Rangers' organization. He had rotator cuff surgery in early 2007, but says Benson's agent:
"I thought he worked out very well the other day," Clifton said. "What people don't understand is that he's healthy now. He told me he hasn't felt this good since Clemson. When he was throwing the other day it was like watching the kid I saw at Clemson. He's very excited."
Of course, that's Kris Benson's agent saying that, but the Diamondbacks figured it was worth a shot, so they brought him on. Benson will serve as rotation depth in AAA, and while he doesn't yet qualify as the team's #6 starter, some effectiveness in the early going would help him jump up on the list.
Benson struck out seven batters per nine innings through his first two Major League seasons, but he underwent Tommy John surgery on his elbow in 2001 and hasn't been the same, with his K/9 dropping to 5.2.
As far as his contract is concerned, Nick Piecoro says that Benson will earn $650,000 if he makes the team, with some additional playing time-based incentives.