Why the numbers just don't add up for Joaquin Benoit as Detroit Tigers' long-term closer
|Joaquin Benoit: Premier setup man, but no closer|
It's not like he hasn't been tried as a closer before. He has - actually quite often. The results have been disastrous. In his career, Benoit has converted just 16-of-40 save opportunities. He's 3-for-3 this year, but his track record suggests it is just a matter of time until that changes. He's 35 years old. It's unlikely his career course is going to turn at this point, nor should it.
The problem is two-fold here, if Benoit were to become a full-time closer.
One, it is very much an "if" whether he can get it done in the closer role. Two, it would be blowing one tire, the setup spot, to fill the closer role. The setup role is nearly as important as the closer's role. Even though the Tigers' starting staff has been the best in the American League this season, Detroit starters are averaging just 6 1-3 innings per start.
It would be unfair to expect Benoit to be the Tigers' closer, and perhaps costly to the team overall considering how it could throw the balance of the pitching staff out of whack.
It's why the only apparent solution, ultimately, is a trade.