Tigers finalize three-year deal with Joaquin Benoit

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Another odd early-offseason deal is official.

According to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com, right-handed reliever Joaquin Benoit passed his physical on Thursday and officially signed a new three-year, $16.5 million contract with the Tigers.

Benoit registered a fantastic 1.34 ERA and 0.68 WHIP in 63 relief appearances for the American League East champion Rays this year, striking out 75 batters and walking only 11 in 60.1 innings.  But relievers are very year-to-year in performance and Benoit doesn’t exactly have the most consistent track record of success.

In 2007 with the Rangers he posted a 2.85 ERA and 1.17 WHIP in 82 innings.  One year later, he finished with a 5.00 ERA and 1.67 WHIP over 45 frames.  It seems likely that he will fall flat in the very same way up in Detroit.

Benoit will serve as a setup man for the Tigers behind Jose Valverde, another overpaid reliever.

Rays trade Jake Odorizzi to Twins

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The Rays have traded right-hander Jake Odorizzi to the Twins, per team announcements on Saturday evening. The Twins will receive minor league shortstop Jermaine Palacios in the deal. Despite previous speculation, recently-DFA’d outfielder Corey Dickerson was not included in the trade.

With Odorizzi, the Twins finally have the front-end starter they’ve been seeking all winter. It’s a bargain deal as well, as the 27-year-old righty is under contract through 2019 and didn’t require the club to part with any of their top-shelf prospects in the trade. Odorizzi will be looking to stage a comeback in 2018 after a dismal performance with the Rays last year, during which he eked out a career-worst 4.14 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 8.0 SO/9 through 143 1/3 innings.

Palacios, 21, ranked no. 27 in the Twins’ system last season. He split his year between Single-A Cedar Rapids and High-A Fort Myers, raking a combined .296/.333/.454 with 13 home runs and 20 stolen bases in 539 plate appearances. He’s expected to continue developing at shortstop, though he’s also seen limited time at second and third base during his four-year career in the minors.