Jeanmar Gomez is out as the Phillies closer, and his replacement likely won’t be in Philadelphia for long
Pete Mackanin tabbing Jeanmar Gomez as the Phillies closer early in spring training surprised many people, but the explanation was fair. Gomez earned the job last year with an All-Star quality performance in the first half of the year. Mackanin is a players manager, and ultimately did the right thing for the journeyman reliever.
It took just three innings for Mackanin to realize he made a mistake after watching Gomez allow five runs, blow a save, and compile a 15.00 ERA.
The blown save on Sunday was the final straw for the Phils manager, who named veteran Joaquin Benoit the team’s closer moving forward.
And while Mackanin denies the move was motivated by future trade aspirations, Philadelphia fans are smart enough to see through his words.
Hector Neris has done everything asked of him to earn the closer job, and in any other situation would have the job. However, for a rebuilding team looking to add young assets like the Phillies the desire to move veterans for youth surpasses the need to win.
Benoit was brought to Philadelphia to be swapped at the trade deadline, and his new title as a closer bumps his stock at the negotiating table.
An extreme example of this would be last year when the Yankees traded Andrew Miller to Cleveland. New York received four players, including top prospect Clint Fraizer in exchange for a relief pitcher over the age of 30.
Benoit may be on the wrong end of 30 and not as complete a player as Miller, but the value takes a dramatic jump when a playoff hungry team looking for help in the backend of the bullpen comes calling.
Mackanin can deny the choice of Benoit was fueled by trade stock, but ultimately Philadelphia should benefit from the 39-year-old closing games in the dog days of summer.