Benítez with the Marlins in June 2007
November 3, 1972 |
Ramón Santana, San Pedro de Macorís, Dominican Republic
|Batted: Right||Threw: Right|
|July 28, 1994 for the Baltimore Orioles|
|Last MLB appearance|
|June 6, 2008 for the Toronto Blue Jays|
(through 2008 season)
|Earned run average||3.13|
|Career highlights and awards|
Armando Benítez (born November 3, 1972) is a retired relief pitcher. Benítez debuted with the Baltimore Orioles in 1994 and within a few years became their closer. He was a reliever for several other organizations after Baltimore in 1999 and last played in Major League Baseball in 2008. His 289 saves rank 25th all time. Since 2008, he has played in minor league and independent league baseball.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Professional career
- 3 Accomplishments
- 4 See also
- 5 References
- 6 External links
Armando Germán Benítez was born in San Pedro de Macoris, in the Dominican Republic. His parents, father Francisco and mother Constancia, separated when he was young, so Armando was raised by his mother. She made a living by hand-washing clothes. Armando has two brothers, Francisco, Jr. and Osiri, as well as a sister, Senovia.
Benítez was signed in 1990 by the Baltimore Orioles as a free agent. Coming up through the Orioles' farm system, he made his debut in 1994. While with the Orioles, he initially struggled, collecting a 5.66 ERA in 1995 and faltering in the postseason frequently. In the 1996 ALCS he yielded the infamous Jeffrey Maier home run, sprinting all the way to right field to confront the umpire, Rich Garcia, who made the call. By 1998 he started to show some of his future potential earning a 3.82 ERA and 22 saves in 71 games. In 1997 Benítez had a breakout year, as he excelled in the set up role for Orioles' closer Randy Myers, forming a lethal 1–2 punch at the back end of the Orioles bullpen and propelling them to the AL East pennant.
During a game against the New York Yankees on May 19, 1998, Benítez was ejected for hitting Tino Martinez with a pitch that led to a huge brawl between the two teams. Although Benítez denied hitting Martinez intentionally, few Orioles defended his actions and he was assessed an eight-game suspension by American League President Gene Budig.
Mets, Yankees, Mariners
Before the 1999 season, Benítez was traded to the New York Mets in a three-team deal, in which catcher Charles Johnson joined the Orioles while Todd Hundley was sent to the Los Angeles Dodgers, with Roger Cedeño also joining Benitez in New York. Benitez initially served as the setup man for longtime Mets closer John Franco; however, when Franco went down with an injury mid-way through the 1999 season, Benitez assumed the job and was named the full-time Mets closer even after Franco's return. During his first four seasons in New York, he subsequently became one of the Major Leagues' elite closers, saving 139 games. But it was also a painful time for Benítez, who battled gout during the 2000 season, due to overindulging in shellfish. Regardless, several playoff contenders were interested in his services. Midway through 2003, as Benítez labored trying to convert saves through the year, he was traded to the New York Yankees, who intended to use him as a setup man for Mariano Rivera. Benítez had a 1.93 ERA in nine games before being traded again to the Seattle Mariners, where he finished the season.
In 2004, Benítez once again became a closer, taking a pay cut to join the Florida Marlins for one year. His season with the Marlins ended up being his best season to date; he saved 47 games in 51 chances and compiled a 1.29 ERA. In fact, after giving up a solo home run in his first game of the season, he did not allow another earned run until June 5, after an impressive streak of 30 scoreless innings. After the season, Benítez elected to become a free agent, signing a three-year contract with the San Francisco Giants that was worth a reported US$21 million.
San Francisco Giants
His tenure with the Giants was mired by injuries and a high percentage of blown saves, never recapturing the form he showed in 2004 with the Marlins. His first season with the Giants started badly when Benítez tore a pair of tendons in his right hamstring while running to cover first in late April. The injury had him sidelined until August, when he returned to the mound after a difficult rehab.
Benítez struggled for much of the 2006 season, at one point blowing three consecutive save opportunities. Benítez's season ended prematurely after being placed on the 60-day disabled list with arthritis in both knees. He ended the season with 17 saves in 25 opportunities.
Benítez started 2007 well, converting all of his first seven save opportunities. However, in May, Benítez picked up two blown saves and three losses, including a blown save and a loss against his former team, the Mets, where he committed two balks. After the game Benítez commented, "I didn't do my job", contrasting with his previous game where he picked up the loss yet claimed, "I did my job." MLB.com writer Chris Haft reported that this added "little to the family atmosphere" at the Giants ballclub. Benítez had once before said, "I did my job", even when tallying a blown save, during a Giants loss to the Nationals in 2006.
On May 31, 2007, he was traded back to the Florida Marlins in exchange for Randy Messenger. Giants general manager Brian Sabean acknowledged that Benítez was not liked by the Giants fanbase, saying he had become a "whipping boy", adding "the fans, the press and maybe some people in the clubhouse felt he needed to go". Chris Haft noted that Benítez had "incurred the wrath of San Francisco fans with his perceived attitude as well as his performance", further writing "he maintained his tendency to shrug off accountability for poor performances, prompting the crowds at AT&T Park to boo him after the slightest lapse."
On October 29, 2007, Benítez officially filed for free agency, ending his second tenure with the Marlins.
Toronto Blue Jays
On March 11, 2008, Benítez agreed to a minor league deal with the Toronto Blue Jays and was given chance to compete for a bullpen job in spring training. After starting the season in the minors, he was eventually added to the active roster in May. However, on June 7, he was designated for assignment and released.
Benitez started the 2009 season with the Newark Bears, an Independent League team in the Atlantic League, before signing a minor league contract with the Houston Astros.
On August 22, 2009 Benitez was signed to a minor league deal by the Houston Astros and assigned to their triple-A affiliate the Round Rock Express. On his minor league return, Benitez gave up back-to-back-to-back-to-back home runs against Memphis Redbirds hitters.
Florida Marlins – third stint
On June 24, 2010 Benitez signed a minor league deal with the Florida Marlins and was assigned to their triple-A affiliate, New Orleans Zephyrs. Benitez was released on July 15 and immediately signed to play his 2nd stint with the Newark Bears. Following the season, he became a free agent.
Back to the minors
Long Island Ducks
- Twice All-Star (2003–04)
- National League Rolaids Relief Man of the Year Award (2001)
- #25 all time in Saves (289)
- Rodriguez, Juan C. (April 4, 2004). "Getting A New Start". Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved 19 November 2013.
- Verducci, Tom (June 1, 1998). "Fevered Pitch". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved November 19, 2013.
- "Armando Benitez Biography". BaseballLibrary.com. Retrieved 2008-08-05.
- Strauss, Joe; Rich Kubatko (May 21, 1998). "As penalties hit, O's apologize Miller says beaning 'totally misrepresents Orioles' tradition'". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved November 19, 2013.
- "Too Bad Piazza Can't Steal Hit". Daily News (New York). September 15, 2000.
- "SI.com - Recap". SI.com. June 5, 2004. Retrieved 2008-08-05.
- "Giants shut down Benitez for season". September 13, 2006. Retrieved 2008-08-05.
- "Notes: Benitez silencing critics". MLB.com. April 27, 2007. Retrieved 2008-08-05.
- "Benitez's struggles cost Giants in 12th". MLB.com. May 29, 2007. Retrieved 2008-08-05.
- "Giants can't preserve Cain's victory". MLB.com. May 25, 2007. Retrieved 2008-08-05.
- "Giants' miscues add up in tough loss". MLB.com. July 26, 2007. Retrieved 2008-08-05.
- "Giants trade Benitez for Messenger". MLB.com. May 31, 2007. Retrieved 2008-08-05.
- "Giants keep rolling with walk-off win". MLB.com. July 28, 2007. Retrieved 2008-08-05.
- "Benitez formally chooses free agency". MLB.com. October 29, 2007. Archived from the original on 25 June 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-05.
- "Blue Jays sign Armando Benitez". MLB.com. March 11, 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-05.
- "Armando Benitez is signed by Ducks". Newsday. May 24, 2012. Retrieved 2012-05-24.
- Career statistics and player information from MLB, or ESPN, or Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or The Baseball Cube, or Baseball-Reference (Minors)
- Armando Benitez: Profile on the Fish@Bat Florida Marlins Wiki