With the Yankees' quest to bolster their starting rotation proving to be difficult, Brian Cashman has now turned his attention to reinforcing the bullpen instead. They are again looking toward the leaderless San Diego Padres, who now have the top reliever on the market in Joaquin Benoit. That is to say, if he's actually available. Like with Ian Kennedy, the Padres have not yet determined whether they want to trade Benoit or not, though they have already traded Huston Street several weeks ago.
On the season, Benoit has been excellent with a 1.88 ERA and 2.65 FIP for San Diego. While the Yankees bullpen has been a strength for the team for much of the season, adding Benoit could go a long way toward shortening games and would represent a significant upgrade over someone like David Huff, or really anyone not named David Robertson or Dellin Betances. Adding another elite reliever would prevent overworking Betances as they head into the final two months of the season with a playoff spot on the line.
The one hang up is that the 37-year-old right-hander is locked up to a long-term contract and is owed $8 million in 2015 and an option for 2016 that can become guaranteed based on the amount of games he finishes. While Benoit could help the bullpen in the event that Robertson leaves in free agency, the Yankees are better off re-signing their closer than hope an expensive and old reliever continues to be very good. Considering all of this, the reality of such a deal will likely rely heavily on what the Yankees have to give up in return. That will be key.