By HOWARD FENDRICH, AP Sports Writer
Joaquin Benoit and the Washington Nationals have agreed in principle to a major league contract that will pay the 40-year-old reliever $1 million for the 2018 season, according to a person with knowledge of the deal.
The person told The Associated Press about the free-agent agreement, which is pending the successful completion of a physical exam, on condition of anonymity on Monday because it was not yet official.
Benoit is a right-hander who first got to the big leagues in 2001, when he pitched in one game as a starter. He has gone on to make a total of 764 career appearances, with 709 out of the bullpen, mostly in middle relief.
In all, Benoit is 58-49 with a 3.83 ERA, 53 saves and 1,058 strikeouts in 1,068 2-3 innings. He has spent time with eight teams in the majors, including eight years with the Texas Rangers, three with the Detroit Tigers and, most recently, a brief stint at the end of last season with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
He began the year with the Philadelphia Phillies and went a combined 1-6 with a 4.65 ERA across 50 1/3 innings in 52 appearances with the two clubs in 2017.
Benoit adds some playoff experience to the bullpen for the Nationals, who have won four of the past six NL East titles but then lost in the NL Division Series each time. He has pitched in 20 postseason games with the Tampa Bay Rays and Detroit Tigers, going 1-0 with a 2.82 ERA and 27 strikeouts in 22 1/3 innings.
The Nationals’ first official spring training workout for pitchers and catchers in West Palm Beach, Florida, was Friday.
ESPN.com first reported that Benoit and the Nationals had an agreement in place.
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