The Marlins sign . . . Armando Benitez?!

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When Fredi Gonzalez got canned yesterday, his defenders pointed out that, hey, the Marlins didn’t exactly stock his bullpen with decent pitchers.

Well, let no man say that Jeff Loria doesn’t listen to the critics! He — or his subordinates — signed a reliever today: Armando Benitez.  Who hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2008 when he put up a 5.68 ERA for the Blue Jays in eight games before being released.  He kicked around the Astros’ organization a bit last year but was released by them too. For all we know he’s been hustling pool or teaching gardening classes or something since then.

Why sign Benitez? Best explanation I can come up with is that maybe someone told Loria that it was 2004 or something and he expects to be getting back the guy who saved 47 games?  Secondary explanation: maybe he’s secretly trying sabotage games in order to trigger a clause in the stadium lease that would allow him to move to Cleveland!

Either way, Benitez will go to New Orleans, physical willing, to pitch for the AAA club.  Don’t be surprised to see him in Miami soon, though, because these games don’t lose themselves.

With Jeff, all things are possible.

Mets sign Jose Lobaton to minor league deal

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The Mets signed catcher Jose Lobaton to a minor league contract, the team announced Friday. The deal includes an invitation to spring training, where it’s assumed Lobaton will be in the mix for a backup role behind Travis d'Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki.

Lobaton, 33, is coming off of a four-year stint with the Nationals. He put up his worst career numbers in 2017, producing -0.6 fWAR after slashing just .170/.248/.277 with four home runs in 158 plate appearances. While he’ll give the Mets little to work with at the plate, his near-decade of experience behind the dish should make him a decent emergency option, if nothing else.

In the meantime, the Mets are expected to roll with a d’Arnaud/Plawecki platoon to start the season. Both catchers saw slight upticks in value over the 2017 season: d’Arnaud turned in 0.8 fWAR after hitting a career-high 16 home runs, while Plawecki collected 0.6 fWAR and three homers after raising his batting line over the Mendoza Line for the first time since 2015.