San Diego Padres' right-hander Joaquin Benoit is drawing interest from the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers, among others, reports CBS Sports' Jon Heyman. FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal was the first to report os Angeles' interest in the 37-year-old reliever.
The Dodgers clearly need bullpen help, as their staff ranks 22nd in the majors in ERA (3.71) and 24th in WAR (0.9), so it makes sense that they are pursuing Benoit. San Diego, however, isn't exactly inclined to deal him within the division, which could stall out talks between the two organizations.
New York's interest is somewhat surprising considering the back of their bullpen, led by David Robertson and Dellin Betances, has been a strength this season. Andy Martino of the New York Daily Post tweets that it makes sense for the club to target a bullpen upgrade since they are having trouble acquiring a starting pitcher. He also adds that there is currently "nothing going on" between the Yankees and Padres, though that could easily change in the next day or so.
Benoit is having an excellent season in the first year of a two-year deal he signed with the Padres over the offseason. In 43 innings, he has a minuscule 1.88 ERA, 2.64 FIP, 10.7 K/9, 2.7 BB/9, and 1.2 WAR. He is owed $8 million next season and also carries a $8 million club option (with a $1.5 million buyout) for 2016 that becomes guaranteed if he finishes 55 games in 2015.
It is far from a certainty that San Diego deals their current closer, though Chris Cotillo reported yesterday that there is "still a good chance" he is moved before Thursday's deadline. One holdback in a Benoit deal could be San Diego's high asking price, as evidenced by the outstanding return they received for Huston Street earlier this month. Of course, the Padres have all the leverage since they can always hold onto him for next year.