The Philadelphia Daily News and Inquirer are reporting that the 33-year-old free agent has been given a second look by Phillies' scouts. The right-hander is reportedly seeking a one-year deal with incentives after missing all of last season following shoulder surgery.
It seems like only yesterday when I watched Benson throw seven shutout frames and toy with Pat Burrell on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. That was almost five years ago, a full season before he would become the hottest commodity at the 2004 trade deadline and get dealt to the Mets.
Here he is today, on the comeback trail, working out for scouts for the second time and generating lukewarm interest from clubs with a bottomless pit at the bottom of their rotation. The former first-round pick, first overall, never lived up to his billing. It’s a shame because, when healthy, he’s a steady pitcher. As one reader put it in the previous thread, “Benson's career IP/G is 6.19; that's better than any of the Phillies starters last year other than Hamels. It’s also better than Myers’ career IP/G.” (thanks to ae).
Nevertheless, readers remain skeptical as usual that Benson has anything left in the tank. “Benson's problem isn't pitching a lot of innings in games, it's pitching a lot of games period,” noted kdon.
"This notion that Benson is going to be ready to start in April or May is ridiculous," MG argued. "He was supposedly only hitting the gun at mid-70s in December. Maybe he has added a couple of MPH but he isn't going to be ready to start by April. If the Phils were wise, they would give Benson a 1-year with plenty of incentive upside. Basically stash him away for the first few months of the season and let him build up his arm strength. Probably does a few rehab starts in the minors and would be ready to start around the All-Star break."
Beerleaguer: They should strongly consider it. Even if it takes half a season of recovery, chances are excellent the Phillies will need a fresh arm for the stretch run. A one-year, incentive-laden deal would give Benson something to prove.
Rosario pitches six shutout innings: We discussed Fabio Castro’s efforts in the Caribbean Series yesterday, and last night, Phillies right-hander Francisco Rosario topped his teammate by pitching six scoreless innings to lead the Licey Tigers to a 2-1 victory over the Aragua Tigers. Rosario allowed three hits and struck out five, but earned a no-decision.
It’s a nice way to reintroduce Rosario into the conversation. The 27-year-old right-hander hasn't been discussed all winter. I’m sure casual fans have forgotten all about him. I bet Howard Eskin doesn’t remember him. The fact is, he's a definite darkhorse to claim a final spot in the bullpen if he has a nice showing in Clearwater. The 27-year-old right-hander, who missed the last half of 2007 with shoulder inflamation, throws hard, which Charlie Manuel likes in his 'pen, and he’s out of options.