Last we heard from Armando Benitez, he was inexplicably signed by the Marlins in mid-2010. That resulted in eight appearances in triple-A and he hasn’t been heard from since. Today, however, he signed with the Long Island Ducks of the Atlantic League.
He was in the Atlantic League — Newark — when he signed with the Marlins, so who knows, maybe this will put him back on the road to the major, heh, sorry. Almost got through that with a straight face but just couldn’t cut it.
In other Atlantic League news, Joey Gathright — who has recently been toiling for Bridgeport Bluefish — has reportedly had his contract purchased by the Reds triple-A team, the Lousiville Bats. Gathright is no stranger to this either, as he has done the Atlantic League-to-affiliated ball jump for three straight seasons now.
Remember Manny Banuelos? He was once a top pitching prospect for the Yankees and then, apparently disappeared from the face of the earth. Or at least it felt like it. Now he’s in the news, however, as the Dodgers have signed him to a minor league contract.
OK, Banuelos didn’t disappear. He was traded to the Braves in 2015, had a cup of coffee with them, pitching pretty ineffectively in seven big league games, was released by Atlanta in the middle of 2016 and then latched on with the Angels. This past season he posted a 4.93 ERA over 95 innings while being used mostly as a reliever at Triple-A Salt Lake.
Banuelos pitched in the Future’s Game in 2009 and was a star in the Arizona Fall League in 2010. He was a top-50 prospect heading into 2011 before falling to Tommy John surgery in 2012. With Atlanta he suffered some bone spur problems and then some elbow issues that never resulted in surgery but which never subsided enough for him to fulfill his potential either. He suffered injuries. A lot of pitchers do.
It’s unrealistic to think that Banuelos will fulfill the promise he had six years ago, but he’s worth a minor league deal to see if the 26-year-old can at least be a serviceable reliever.