Benacka, Kazmir get minor league deals
Former York Revolution relief pitcher Mike Benacka and former Sugar Land Skeeters’ pitcher Scott Kazmir received affiliated minor league deals earlier this month.
(Credit to York Revolution baseball operations guy Andrew Ball for spreading the word on these deals on Twitter. I try my best to keep up on this stuff, but the months of December and January are really tough given everything else that’s going on with high school/York College sports). Anyway, the Benacka deal came to light when the Laredo Lemurs (American Association) listed on the Association’s transactions page that Benacka’s contract had been sold to Toronto.
Benacka, if you remember, was acquired by the Revs in September of last season from Laredo. As Laredo’s closer, Benacka posted a 2-2 record, 2.39 ERA and 12 saves in 43 appearances. The 6-foot-2 right-hander then came to York and finished the year with a win, save and posted a 3.00 ERA in six regular season relief appearances. In his only appearance in the Atlantic League Freedom Division Championship Series against Lancaster, Benacka got tagged for four runs on one hit – Blake Gailen’s three run jack – and two walks and a hit by pitch. York traded Benacka’s contract back to Laredo after the season. This marks the second time in Benacka’s five-year pro career that he got signed by a big league club after pitching at the independent level. He started his career pitching in the Frontier for a year-and-a-half before being signed by the Oakland Athletics. The 6-foot-2 right-hander then spent the next three-and-a-half seasons pitching in the A’s farm system before joining Laredo.
Kazmir: The Cleveland Plain Dealer first broke the news of the Cleveland Indians signing Kazmir to a minor league deal with an invite to big league spring training. Kazmir spent the winter pitching in the Puerto Rico for the Gigantes de Carolina club, where he went 0-2 with a 4.37 ERA in five starts. However, he had 27 strikeouts to just eight walks in 22.2 innings of work. This comes after Kazmir posted a 3-6 record and 5.34 ERA in 14 starts for the Sugar Land Skeeters over the summer. The lefty struck out 51 and walked 33 in 64 innings for Sugar Land.
Kazmir will attempt to make it back to the big leagues for the first time since 2011, when he made one start for the L.A. Angels. Kazmir owns a career 66-61 record and 4.17 ERA in 180 big league games (179 starts) from 2004 to 2011.
Nowak speaks: Check out a pretty interesting audio interview with slugger Chris Nowak on Fangraphs. Nowak sits down with FanGraphs’ Carson Cistulli to chat about his career, more recently his success in York and this winter in Venezuela.