The San Diego Padres own two valuable relief pitchers as the July 31st trade deadline approaches. Setup man Joaquin Benoit and closer Huston Street are both coveted arms as contending teams look to bolster their bullpen for the stretch run.
While it has been assumed for a while now that both players would be dealt to buyers, Jeff Sanders of the San Diego Union Tribune reports that they will likely deal only one pitcher or the other, with an inclination to keep Benoit.
Because the Padres aren’t expected to do a full-blown fire sale, it’s unlikely they’ll move both. Benoit is the bigger bet to stay because he’s under contract in 2015 with an affordable vesting option in ’16.
Those terms make it more likely that Benoit stays, but given the interest in his services from teams like the Detroit Tigers and Los Angeles Angels and the current state of the Padres’ franchise, the new front office might struggle to turn down an offer if they find it compelling enough.
This slight difference between Benoit and Street, the extra year of team control, does make it seem all but inevitable that Street will be sent to close games for a new team this season. If that deal happens as expected, then it is just a question of whether or not Benoit is dealt as well.
That extra year of control might persuade the Padres to keep him, but those affordable years might land them a little bit extra in a mid-season trade as well. Does Benoit stand out enough from the rest of the available relief pitchers to get those extra pieces in a potential deal? Those are the factors that the Padres will have to weigh as they consider their options at the trade deadline.