The Blue Jays have acquired right-handed reliever Joaquin Benoit in a late night trade with the Seattle Mariners. Drew Storen, who was recently designated for assignment, heads the other way. Apparently a walk off victory was not enough excitement for one night.
Although Benoit has struggled this season, he continues to strike out hitters at a terrific rate. Through 26 appearances this season, Benoit owns a 5.18 ERA, which is largely due to major issues with his command. There is plenty of potential here if he can find the strike zone once again, as the veteran right-hander posted a 2.35 ERA from 2010-2015. Benoit turned 39 today, so his birthday present will be a Blue Jays jersey.
Storen, 28, was acquired in the offseason from the Washington Nationals in exchange for Ben Revere. He was brought over to be a shutdown reliever in high-leverage situations, but struggled with a 6.21 ERA in 38 appearances. A drop in velocity may have cost him, as he clearly did not perform to his usual standard.
The Blue Jays acquired a very similar pitcher in Jason Grilli earlier this season, a move that looks terrific thus far. Just like Grilli, Benoit still offers an impressive arsenal, but his command got away from him in the early going. Let's hope the Blue Jays front office is on to something here.
Update: It appears that the Blue Jays will be sending cash to the Mariners in the swap, but the exact amount has yet to be reported.
Here's some footage from when Benoit was traded last offseason: