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  1. I just can’t believe this deal and I wonder what the domino effect will be on the relief market. While Benoit was excellent this season there is no way he can keep that BABIP nor strand rate up over 3 years. I suppose if he can put up something like 1.3 WAR a year (maybe close at the end of the contract?) it works out at Market value but there seem like such a good relief market this hot stove that 3 years seems excessive

    Comment by Carts13 — November 17, 2010 @ 1:41 pm

  2. I have absolutely no research to back this up… just a general feeling here in Michigan that Detroit sports teams have to overpay… The Tigers have paid a premium in $ or years for most of their recent big free agent signings – Pudge, Ordonez, Valverde etc…

    Not sure if its the GM or the city.

    Comment by Michigan Resident — November 17, 2010 @ 1:44 pm

  3. Could there be a discussion somewhere in this, conspiracy theory type, about Bucks generous signing with the Marlins (keep the Union off the Marlins butt) and this Benoit deal (to appease his agents)?

    Comment by Kimo — November 17, 2010 @ 1:57 pm

  4. Not to take this off-track, but this is generally not like the Yankees’ philosophy to building a bullpen that they have taken over the last 2-3 years.

    Aside from Rivera, who is a no-brainer to pay top dollar for, the only other significant FA contract they have given to a reliever is the $12M/3 year deal they gave Damaso Marte.

    The rest of the bullpen has been assembled from their farm system (Robertson, Coke, Joba, Hughes, Melancon), independent/Mexican league pickups (Aceves, Edwar Ramirez), waiver claims/DFA’ed players (Bruney, Gaudin) low cost fliers on veteran retreads (Tomko, Park, Mitre) and trades for moderate salaried relievers (Logan, Wood).

    Paying top dollar is obviously the Yankees’ main philosophy to building the rest of their team, but when it comes to filling out their bullpen they are largely filling from within or from dumpster diving looking for live arms.

    Comment by Steve — November 17, 2010 @ 2:20 pm

  5. I am losing a lot of faith in Detroit’s front office. Oh, well. At least we have the Red Wings for hockey!

    Comment by guest — November 17, 2010 @ 2:25 pm

  6. I was thinking exactly the same thing. Even Marte, technically wasn’t a FA. They decline a 1yr/$6M option on him and instead signed him to his current contract. The Yankees (mostly) learned their lesson from the signing of pitchers like Farnsworth and Karsay.

    Comment by Mike K — November 17, 2010 @ 2:43 pm

  7. I just noticed that Joe P. wrote this article, so I am sure that I am either misreading that sentence or he meant it in a different way than it reads. Joe P. is well aware of all that crap I wrote above, so I probably misinterpreted.

    Comment by Steve — November 17, 2010 @ 2:47 pm

  8. this deal is fantastic. the tigers had to overpay by 4 million over 3 years (3 years 12 million was more appropriate). however, with a 120 million dollar payroll, one million a year extra isnt going to hurt anybody. also, for what its worth.. valverde was absolutely awful in the last two months of last year. the tigers could move him, and all of a sudden they have a closer for 5 mill a year… pretty good deal if you ask me.

    Comment by jordan — November 17, 2010 @ 2:47 pm

  9. I think the Tigers overpaid more in the number of years than in the money per year, although they probably also were a little high in that area too.

    If they had given him a two year, $11 million deal, it would probably be a slight overpay, but you could understand it. Three years for a reliever is just very risky, though, especially at that money. They didn’t get a discount in either the length of salary.

    Comment by Mike — November 17, 2010 @ 3:01 pm

  10. so far, all signs are pointing to serious salary inflation this winter.

    Buck, Lilly, Benoit, Peralta, Inge, etc. have all gotten well in excess of what I would have guessed a month ago.

    Comment by Steve — November 17, 2010 @ 3:12 pm

  11. Try dollar inflation.

    Comment by this guy — November 17, 2010 @ 3:48 pm

  12. The city. I grew up near Detroit and have since left Michigan: let me tell you, Detroit It has a stigma outside of Michigan like you wouldn’t believe.

    Comment by Dave Wagner — November 17, 2010 @ 3:54 pm

  13. I’m not sure those deals are much of an indication of anything. After all, three out of five are Dombrowski signings.

    Comment by Dave Wagner — November 17, 2010 @ 3:55 pm

  14. minus the “It” in the last sentence

    Comment by Dave Wagner — November 17, 2010 @ 3:56 pm

  15. Your intuition is right.

    Detroit has a bad stigma for various reasons but for the purposes of prospective FA’s looking to sign, it’s not a prime destination nor someplace they necessarily want to raise their family. To live anywhere decent you have to live outside the city and preferably out in the middle of nowhere (Plymouth, for example).

    So yes, Detroit either overpays or gives out more years than they want to retain and attract talent.

    It is what it is……..

    Living in Phoenix, I meet women from Michigan all the time. They moved away from Michigan for a reason………

    Comment by DIVISION — November 17, 2010 @ 4:22 pm

  16. Would you rather have Lyon or Benoit for the same dollars? Benoit has the superior upside, and profiles better as a setup/closer. It’s not a bargain, by any stretch, but if 1.3 WAR makes this a break-even, then he’s done that in 5 of his last 6 seasons. I’ll take him.

    Comment by Ian — November 17, 2010 @ 4:24 pm

  17. ^It’s your city, not Dombrowski that’s the problem.

    The economic downturn has ruined Detroit, it’s a real eyesore.

    If you were from either coast, why would you want to move to Detroit or Michigan for that matter?

    Comment by DIVISION — November 17, 2010 @ 4:25 pm

  18. ^Depends on the role.

    For the same money, you take Benoit.

    If we’re talking set-up, you take Lyon over Benoit.

    If you have to choose a closer between the two, you take Benoit.

    Comment by DIVISION — November 17, 2010 @ 4:27 pm

  19. Why would I take Benoit to close but Lyon to setup? I assume you think Benoit is a better pitcher. He’s going to be a better pitcher than Lyon no matter the role. There’s not some unique character of the 8th inning that makes Lyon a unique fit for the job.

    Comment by Nick — November 17, 2010 @ 5:24 pm

  20. I was going to make the same comment you did about spending on the bullpen not being the Yanks philosophy (until I saw your comment.) I also had not noticed that Joe P. wrote this article until your second post. He is either writing to the masses or just simply referring to the Yanks overall philosophy, because, as you stated, he knows this is not how the Yanks build a BP.

    Comment by Al — November 17, 2010 @ 6:48 pm

  21. Two years at $7M per is overpaying for Valverde? That’s less of a commitment than Benoit and Valverde is a better pitcher. Damon signed a fairly reasonable deal coming off a strong 2009 as well. If anything it’s more likely that Dombrowski simply outbids himself.

    It’s highly unlikely, especially at this point in the offseason, that Benoit had another team lined up offering two years and $12M or three years and $14M or something.

    Dombrowski probably saw a pitcher he wanted, and made a senselessly high offer that Benoit would’ve been a fool to refuse. I wonder if they even tried a lower offer or if they just opened with a three-year deal. There was nothing reported about what Benoit was looking for or what the Tigers offered — just, suddenly, “Benoit’s getting almost $17M!”

    You’d think GMs would’ve learned about multiyear deals for middle relievers. What percentage of them work? Just a surprising overpay by the Tigers, especially after they just got out of so many bad contracts.

    Comment by MorneauVP — November 17, 2010 @ 7:02 pm

  22. Not necessarily in Benoit’s case. If you believe he is for real (I know, a big “if”) then you are getting a top reliever without giving up a draft pick. Most relievers coming off a year like Benoit had in 2010 would be type A.

    The Tigers are taking a risk on his health, but a healthy Benoit is better than many of the available type A and all of the type B relievers.

    Comment by Sam A — November 17, 2010 @ 7:50 pm

  23. and I was saying that you can’t judge the market based on a sample predominantly consisting of signings by one GM — whoever that GM is.

    Comment by Dave Wagner — November 17, 2010 @ 7:53 pm

  24. Benoit is a better pitcher than Valverde, when healthy. Actually, a lot better.

    Comment by wobatus — November 17, 2010 @ 10:05 pm

  25. Taking a quick break away from the analysis of this signing, as a resident of Michigan I feel that I need to stick up for the state. Yes, the city of Detroit is an eye sore – one that reflects poorly on the state as a whole – that being said, the state itself is a wonderful place to live. If you prefer warm weather year round you might disagree, but as someone who appreciates and enjoys the diversity of four seasons the climate isn’t a negative in my eyes. You can find upscale suburbs surrounding Detroit just as you can around any major city in the country. If you enjoy nature it’s a great place to be – northern Michigan is gorgeous and we are surrounded by the most impressive fresh water lake system in the world. There are warts, but to say why would anyone want to live in the state is either a poorly thought out statement or simply a ignorant comment.

    That’s all.

    By the way, I was surprised by the length of the contract handed to Benoit, but given the payroll the Mike Ilitch has given DD to work with it will not hamstring the club in future dealings. That being the case it’s not much of a risk for the Tigers. If a team with a working payroll of $70 million gave Benoit this contract then it would be a larger gamble. In the end if DD identified him as the highest priority reliever on the market then I see no issue with the money or the term of the contract. One last thing – the fact that Benoit is a “Type B” free agent also adds to his value due to the fact that Detroit will not have surrender any draft picks in acquiring him.

    Comment by Ed Stevens — November 17, 2010 @ 11:26 pm

  26. Yeah, that’s basically complete nonsense other than the stigma attached to the city itself. Oakland County is across the street from Detroit- it’s not the middle of nowhere.

    Comment by stormhit — November 17, 2010 @ 11:59 pm

  27. Detroit will kill you if you’re a gangster and do gangster shit, but it’s really no worse than any other major city if you’re not slinging rocks on the corners. The places where you wanna be — restaurants, hotels, casinos, Ford Field/Comerica, Greektown, the Eastern Market, malls, concert venues, theatres — are fine. If you feel like a swashbuckler, by all means go to the hood, and bring a firearm. All that ruin porn you saw in Time is pretty easily accessible, too.

    The ‘zomg our city sucks so we have to pay everyone eleventy-thousand dollars’ argument holds no water. You think Cal Ripken stayed in Baltimore all those years because it’s an urban paradise? And Pujols loves St. Louis because its ghettos have a rustic charm? These people are katrillionaires, they could live on the moon if they wanted to. The most Miguel Cabrera needs too regularly see of Detroit is the ballpark and a couple of strip joints.

    Comment by Aaron Crossen — November 18, 2010 @ 1:04 am

  28. I have no idea what hat he pulled Plymouth out of, but that’s not in the middle of nowhere, either. Plymouth is right next to Ann Arbor.

    Comment by Dave Wagner — November 18, 2010 @ 1:33 am

  29. Is it as simple as, Dombo felt, what with Zumaya’s issues, that in Benoit he’s signing a closer? And if Zumaya comes back just fine, that he’ll get at least equal value for Benoit’s contract in trade if he needs to do that?

    Just trying to figure it out.

    Comment by Jack Str — November 18, 2010 @ 2:23 am

  30. I took that comment to mean the Yanks overall approach to putting a roster together, not necessarily limited to the bullpen.

    Their philosophy this winter (with Cliff Lee) “If you can’t beat em, BUY em!”

    Comment by Tigerdog — November 18, 2010 @ 3:06 am

  31. By the way, if the Tigers are stuck on moving Phil Coke to the rotation, as it seems they are, then they still need to add another reliever. Benoit replaces Zumaya, or maybe Lyon if you want to look at it that way. Now let’s replace Coke!

    Comment by Tigerdog — November 18, 2010 @ 3:08 am

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