Padres News: Padres Exercise 2016 Option on Joaquin Benoit

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Mandatory Credit: UT San Diego
Mandatory Credit: UT San Diego

The Padres will be bringing back Joaquin Benoit for the final year of his contract, the team announced on Tuesday. The Padres had a choice between exercising Benoit’s option or paying him a buyout and letting him become a free agent. Benoit had one million dollar buyout but the Padres chose instead to pay Benoit his full 7.5 million dollar salary for 2016. The Padres also announced that they have declined the 2 million dollar option on Clint Barmes and will instead buy out his contract for 200k.

Benoit finished the 2015 season with a 2.34 ERA in 67 appearances. Benoit pitched almost exclusively in the setup role, while Craig Kimbrel was the closer for the Padres. With both Benoit and Kimbrel due back in 2016, the Padres now have several options in the backend of their bullpen for next season.

Bringing back Joaquin Benoit may just spell the end of Craig Kimbrel’s time in a San Diego Padres uniform. It seems unlikely that the Padres will want to pay a closer-setup man duo over 20 million dollars next season. If Kimbrel is traded in the offseason, it is fairly obvious that Benoit will once again slot back into the closer’s role for next season.

Exercising Benoit’s 2016 option also could make Benoit a potential offseason trade candidate. While it is pretty clear that Kimbrel holds more trade value than Benoit, the Padres could test the waters on a potential trade of Benoit. Benoit is definitely nearing the end of his career, but was still effective enough in 2015 to provide a potential bullpen boost to many different teams for next year. The Padres will definitely consider the potential of trading both Kimbrel and Benoit, but picking up the option on Benoit definitely makes sense for a Padres team in need of options this offseason.

On the other hand, Clint Barmes was just an expendable asset given his similarity to Alexi Amarista, his ever increasing age as well as his higher salary. Barmes was a more than respectable shortstop option for the Padres in 2015, but it seems pretty clear that they have no further use for them. The decisions on both Clint Barmes and Joaquin Benoit mark the beginning of what should be a busy offseason in San Diego. Let the hot stove begin.

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