It pretty much went unnoticed, but Kris Benson’s window to opt out of his contacts opened and closed this past Tuesday. The Phillies had until Tuesday to add him to the 40-man roster, otherwise he could opt-out of his deal, and join the free agent ranks. While Benson wasn’t added to the roster, Benson had no intention of leaving the Phillies.
At least yet…
Yesterday, a new deal was struck for Benson, giving both Benson and the Phillies another time-line to make it back to the big leagues. His new out-clauses are as follows:
- If by May 15th Benson pitches at least 10 minor league innings and still isn’t on the 40-man roster.
- If Benson hasn’t been added to the roster by June 1st.
Benson has said himself he’s 5-6 weeks away from being able to join the Phillies, so both out-clauses seem realistic. These new deadlines were added due to his "setback" from bicep tendonitis.
Regarding his "setback", while the news wasn’t good, it might not be the worst thing in the world. Because the Phillies are so pitching starved, the media and fans watched every move Benson made. When you’re coming back from a major surgery, such as a rotator cuff, being under the microscope doesn’t make the rehabilitation process any easier. Now that the season is about to start, Benson can get ready for the season without everyone paying attention to every outing.
I’m a big believer in depth, and one thing I really like about this Phillies team is the depth they have on the bench. While the pitching staff still leaves something to be desired, a healthy Benson will be able to give the Phillies rotation, and pitching staff another arm they can turn to during the long summer stretch.
Maybe I’m an optimist, apologist, or what have you, but I still expect Benson to join the Phillies sometime in mid-May.