MLB Free Agent Market Explodes Thanks To Detroit's Crazy Spending

Joaquin Benoit Tampa Bay Rays Detroit Tigers Pitcher Pitching MLB Baseball

Photo: AP Images

Baseball executives fear that the 3-year, $16.5M contract the Tigers bestowed upon oft-injured reliever Joaquin Benoit will drive the price of relievers to unprecedented heights, ESPN Buster Olney reports.According to Olney, the entire relief market was reset “like a beach house knocked off its pins by the tide.”

The 33-year-old Benoit had an excellent 2010 season, as he struck out 75 in 60.1 innings with a 1.34 ERA. But he entered the season with a 4.79 lifetime ERA, and didn’t pitch at all in an injury-plagued 2009.

His last full season, 2008, was atrocious: he posted a 5.00 ERA with a 1.67 WHIP.

As the first reliever signed, Benoit’s contract is the standard by which other free agents will weigh their offers. If a reliever feels he is more accomplished than Benoit – and many certainly will – they will demand contracts worth more than $16.5M, an already absurd sum for a middle-reliever.

The groundwork appears to be laid out for a middle-relief Bridesmaid contract bonanza. Here are some relievers who stand to cash in thanks to the Tigers’ liberal spending. 

  • Kerry Wood
  • J.J. Putz
  • Grant Balfour
  • Scott Downs
  • Frank Francisco
  • Jon Rauch
  • Jesse Crain

NOW WATCH: Briefing videos

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.