As one reliever leaves, another enters. The Pirates have swung a late deal with the Philadelphia Phillies, sending out minor league relief pitcher Seth McGarry in exchange for veteran right-handed reliever Joaquin Benoit and cash considerations.
The 39-year-old Benoit has posted respectable numbers with the Phillies this year, including a 4.07 ERA, a 1.14 WHIP, and 9.2 K/9. He is a flyball-oriented pitcher, with a mid-90s fastball, a slider, and a Vulcan changeup (an unusual pitch similar to a splitter or a forkball, thrown with a grip reminiscent of the Vulcan salute from Star Trek). Benoit is under contract for $7.5M this year, and will be a free agent at the end of the season.
McGarry is a right-handed reliever who had been pitching for Bradenton in 2017, posting a 1.34 ERA and a 0.84 WHIP, with 38 K, 14 BB, and only one HR allowed in 40 1/3 innings pitched. The 2017 Florida State League All-Star was an eighth-round draft pick out of Florida Atlantic University in 2015. The FSL is a good pitching environment, but McGarry’s numbers would be excellent just about anywhere, and with a fastball that can get up into the upper 90s, he seems like a fairly solid prospect as low-minors relief pitchers go.
The Pirates have been caught in an awkward no-man’s land between contending and selling, and it seems like they decided to try and split the difference by shipping Watson out and replacing him with another setup man.