A THE Joshua Kusnick Experience Special – Parkland

On a somber episode of THE Joshua Kusnick Experience, Josh and Ryan briefly discuss the recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida.  Josh lives in this community and knows people who work at the school, so he provides a unique perspective to the tragic event.  In addition, we briefly discuss the current “gun issue” in America, the impressive young men and women at Stoneman Douglas HS and commit to help those affected in some fashion.

We appreciate you listening and apologize for the lack of baseball talk.

Link to help -> http://browardedfoundation.org/

THE Joshua Kusnick Experience #25 – Invading A Compound

Welcome to the 25th Episode of THE Joshua Kusnick Experience!

This week our conversation begins with Josh talking about his contention Seth Lugo would not be the worst outfielder in Mets’ big league camp, getting into it with an autograph dealer and his reaction to seeing his name on the front page of the USA Today.  Next Josh describes the bizarre and somewhat surreal experience he had attending the MLBPA Free Agent Camp in Bradenton this week.  Finally we discuss the state of free agency now that Eric Hosmer and J.D. Martinez have signed, the effect the rebuilding teams in Florida have had on the market and the new pace-of-play initiatives.

Thanks to Josh as always for his candor and to you for listening – Please follow the show on Twitter @JoshKusnickPod and leave suggestions for show topics in the comment’s section below!

THE NatsGM Show #122 – Guest Tyler Townsend

THE NatsGM Show #122 proudly welcomes former Baltimore Orioles minor league prospect and current restaurateur, Tyler Townsend.

Our interview begins with Tyler describing his high school career in Delaware, choosing Florida International for college and his draft day experience.  Next he reflects on his minor league career, playing in front of his friends and family in nearby Delmarva, plus the injuries that curtailed his career.  Finally Tyler describes his transition from baseball into the business world, how he started working in restaurants and the summer opening of his new venture, The Pines RB.

Thank you Tyler for joining the show – We are planning a Part-2 to this interview closer to the restaurant opening.  Please follow us on Twitter @Nats_GM and give us a 5-Star Rating & Review on Apple Podcasts.  Thanks for listening!

Joaquin To The Rescue – Benoit Signs With Washington

Monday news broke and Wednesday it was confirmed – The Washington Nationals had reached agreement on a 1-year $1 million contract with free agent reliever Joaquin Benoit.  In a corresponding move, Washington placed Joe Ross on the 60-day disabled list in order to create space on the 40-man roster for Benoit.

The 40-year-old right-hander split last season with Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, throwing 50.1 innings over 52 appearances with a 4.65 ERA, 4.51 FIP, 1.291 WHIP and 46 strikeouts against 22 walks.  Benoit was solid for Philadelphia early in the year (4.07 ERA, 3.80 FIP) but collapsed in the Iron City, allowing 9 runs, 11 hits and 6 walks in only 8.1 innings for the Pirates.  For his 16-year major league career, Benoit has been a productive late-inning reliever, with a 3.83 ERA, 1.235 WHIP and 53 saves over 1,068 innings pitched.  Benoit primarily relies on his 94-95mph fastball and a mid-80s changeup, while mixing in the occasional slider.  While his velocity and swinging strike percentage (13.3%) remained strong in 2017, it is concerning his walk rate and home runs allowed have elevated over career norms in both 2016 and 2017.  These flaws must subside if the veteran wishes to remain a productive major league reliever.

Benoit provides Washington’s bullpen with something it lacked without him, namely a consistent right-handed reliever who can bolster the middle relief corps.  Certainly Koda Glover, Shawn Kelley and perhaps even Austin Adams could fill this role in 2018, but all three come with significantly more risk than Benoit.  One could argue all three come with more potential upside, but Benoit’s reliability and higher “floor” makes him a solid addition to Washington’s relief corps.  Also, Benoit’s career 8.9 K/9 ratio makes him a nice contrast to fellow free agent signee and groundball producing machine Brandon Kintzler in a setup capacity ahead of Ryan Madson and closer Sean Doolittle.

In general, it is difficult to quibble with signing a durable reliever for only $1 million and Benoit should give the Nationals quality production this season.  Washington capitalized on the slow free agent market to add a reliable pitcher on a below-market contract.  However, I must caution Benoit is no longer an elite reliever like he was from 2010-2015, but a pitcher who should provide 45-50 innings of league-average results.  If expectations are kept with this in mind, Washington’s front office just acquired additional depth for only a $1 million commitment, a quality and logical move.

NatsGM Grade  ->           B