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After missing all of 2009 due to rotator cuff surgery, Joaquin Benoit made a triumphant return in 2010. The 32-year-old signed with the Rays as a minor-league free agent and by the end of April was back in the majors. Benoit became a key part of the Rays’ bullpen, setting up for closer Rafael Soriano and helping Tampa Bay to the American League East title. Here’s how Benoit’s 2010 campaign compared to his previous two seasons in Texas:

YR

G

IP

W-L

ERA

BB

SO

WXRL

VORP

2007

70

82.0

7-4

2.85

28

87

3.529

27.0

2008

44

45.0

3-2

5.00

35

43

-0.276

1.1

2010

63

60.1

1-2

1.34

11

75

3.063

25.6

That’s an astonishing 11.1 SO9 and 1.7 BB9 last season. Benoit’s VORP was third on Tampa Bay’s pitching staff and his WXRL eighth among American League relievers. Benoit is a three-pitch pitcher, primarily using his four-seam fastball: 

YR

FB% (MPH)

SL% (MPH)

CH% (MPH)

2007

58.6% (92.6)

19.7% (86.1)

20.7% (83.1)

2008

64.6% (91.7)

13.2% (86.1)

21.8% (83.2)

2010

65.0% (94.0)

12.6% (85.7)

22.5% (83.5)

Career avg.

63.1% (91.8)

16.1% (84.6)

17.9% (81.7)

After his shoulder surgery, Benoit’s fastball shot up by nearly 3 mph (the hardest he has ever thrown it), while his slider and change stayed consistent in the low-to-mid 80s. Benoit does not have closer-type stuff, but could still land a deal as a free agent similar to what Octavio Dotel got last season with the Pirates ($3.5 million for one year plus a club option). 

These are the teams that could use Benoit’s arm in their bullpen:

Team

ERA (rank)

WXRL (rank)

BOS

4.63 (22nd)

4.844 (25th)

CHA

4.39 (18th)

6.341 (20th)

DET

4.30 (24th)

6.280 (21st)

NYA

4.06 (15th)

8.182 (9th)

PHI

3.95 (6th)

7.523 (12th)

WAS

4.13 (19th)

6.570 (18th)

With the Rays set to cut their payroll drastically, Benoit likely won't be back with them. Add that the Red Sox have been heavily linked to Benoit. Now it’s your turn: where do you think Benoit will sign?