The Mariners have acquired reliever Joaquin Benoit from the Padres in exchange for right-hander Enyel De Los Santos and infielder Nelson Ward, as first reported by Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com and Corey Brock of MLB.com.
The acquisition of Benoit is the latest in a series of moves by an aggressive Mariners club that has already acquired Nathan Karns from the Rays while re-signing Franklin Gutierrez and potentially coming close to a deal with free-agent catcher Chris Iannetta. Benoit was known to be available in trade talks since last July, and has drawn widespread interest from teams looking for late-inning relief help.
Benoit, 38, spent two years with the Padres, posting an excellent 1.96 ERA while saving 13 games in 120 appearances. He may immediately become the Mariners' closer in place of Tom Wilhemsen, and represents what appears to be the first move of many bullpen additions for Seattle this winter.
Benoit will earn $7.5 million next season, in what is the last year of a 3-year, $22 million deal he signed with San Diego two years ago. Seattle is his fifth team since breaking into the majors in 2001, joining the Rangers, Rays, Tigers and Padres.
De Los Santos, 19, is considered a big arm who is many years away from the majors. He spent the 2015 season split between the Mariners' Rookie-level affiliate and Low-A Everett, posting a 3.47 ERA in thirteen starts.
Ward, 23, was Seattle's twelfth-round pick in the 2014 draft out of the University of Georgia and has experience as a second baseman, shortstop and third baseman. He split last year between Single-A Clinton and High-A Bakersfield, hitting .278/.365/.436 with nine home runs and 55 RBI in 122 games.