Just when you thought the Phillies were done trading, they go and make a trade right at that deadline. The Phillies have traded righty reliever and occasional closer Joaquin Benoit to the Pirates for a minor league reliever named Seth McGarry.
The whole thing happened in pretty quick succession, and MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki was there for it.
Asked why he didn't pitch Joaquin Benoit today, Pete Mackanin said we'll find out in a bit. #TradeDeadline— Todd Zolecki (@ToddZolecki) July 31, 2017
I love that tweet because it encapsulates the sheer insanity of this time of year. Why didn’t Benoit pitch today? The manager says we’ll find out soon, hashtag trade deadline! I mean, of course he was traded, what else would Pete Mackanin not want to talk about?!
Joaquin Benoit getting handshakes and pats on back from a few people. Looks like he's been traded. Not confirmed.— Todd Zolecki (@ToddZolecki) July 31, 2017
So Joaquin Benoit has either been traded or he just beat a very hard video game. Or perhaps he ordered a very impressive pizza? No, he’s been traded.
Joaquin Benoit and cash to Pirates for RHP Seth McGarry.— Todd Zolecki (@ToddZolecki) July 31, 2017
And there we go.
The Phillies signed Benoit to a one-year, $7.5 million contract in the offseason, and he rewarded the Phillies by being somewhat inconsistent and combustible. He would have a handful of great appearances and then explode for a few games. It made Benoit appearances tough to watch because we never knew which guy we’d get. He was named the team’s closer at one point early in the season, but a series of blown saves and a DL stint for a sprained knee allowed Hector Neris to step up. And once Pat Neshek began to shine, Benoit started to have less and less of a purpose. He finished his tenure with the Phillies with a 4.07 ERA in 42 innings, along with 16 walks, 43 strikeouts, and a 1.14 WHIP.
The Phillies signed 39-year-old Benoit at least somewhat based on the strength of his sparkling two-month stint with the Toronto Blue Jays last year, in which he had an 0.38 ERA in 23.2 innings with nine walks and 24 strikeouts. That more than made up for the first part of the season when he was with the Mariners in which he was pretty putrid. They gave him $7.5 million, mostly because they had to spend it somewhere. And we know which version of Benoit we got. Considering that, it’s a miracle that GM Matt Klentak was able to move him at all.
So who is this Seth McGarry? Well first, and I’m sure he gets asked this all the time, he’s not related to deceased fictional White House Chief of Staff Leo McGarry. With that issue cleared up, McGarry is 23 and was drafted just two years ago. Before the trade he was pitching in High-A and had a 1.34 ERA with 14 walks and 38 strikeouts. He has a long way to go before he gets to the majors, so it’s hard to tell too much from just his stats. (We’ll have additional analysis on the Phillies’ newest member in the coming days.) But at the very least he’s not sucking, which is as good as it gets when the person you’re trading is Joaquin Benoit.
When it comes down to it, there’s absolutely a chance that McGarry could become a decent reliever for the Phillies down the road. He’s young so we don’t know what he’ll be right now, but a chance at something eventually useful is better than two months of what we already know. And we know Joaquin Benoit. There was just no benefit to keeping him, and so whatever the Phillies get back is a net gain.
Now the Pirates will be dealing with Joaquin Benoit instead of the Phillies, and the Phillies will welcome Seth McGarry to their low minors. And nothing else of note happened in the precious minutes after the trade deadline. Nope. Nothing at all.