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Is Kris Benson Worth The Flier?

The Phillies are reportedly deeply interested in Kris Benson. Scout Chuck LaMar has met with Benson twice in the last week, according to a Jim Salisbury article in the Inquirer.

Benson is a career 68-73 pitcher with a 4.34 ERA. His first winning season came in 2005 with the Mets, going 10-8.

Would Benson be a good fit for the Phillies?

Benson is 33; a good one-year deal with incentives and a possible second-year option sounds right. His statistics show he’s always been a consistent No. 4 starter, carrying no more than a 4.97 ERA (in an 18-start season) and no less than a 3.85 ERA (in his second season).

In fact, his last five seasons show:
2006 – 4.82 ERA
2005 – 4.13 ERA
2004 – 4.31 ERA
2003 – 4.22 ERA
2002 – 4.50 ERA

You know what you’re getting. For the most part, Benson is a ground ball pitcher, though 2006 saw him giving up 33 homers and carrying a close to even 1.09 G/F ratio. He only had one start at Citizens Bank, and gave up four earned runs in six innings. Too small a sample.

Interestingly, when he wins, he’s really good (2.15 ERA) and when he loses, well … (7.94 ERA). He seems to also pitch in stretches. He’ll be on for a couple starts, then off for a couple.

Basically, Kris Benson is a younger Jon Lieber. Which wouldn’t be bad to own for a season, maybe two. While Carlos Carrasco and Josh Outman move up slowly, we can throw Benson out there to the tune of a 4.87 ERA, and chances are we’ll be better off than with a green rookie or — gulp — Mr. Eaton.

Take the flier on Benson. Have him battle with the boys at the bottom. Stock ’em up.

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