The former No. 1 overall pick in the June 1996 First-Year Player Draft agreed Wednesday to a Minor League deal, pending a physical on Thursday in Philadelphia. Assuming he passes, Benson should join his new teammates on Friday at Bright House Networks Field."It's a low-risk, high-reward type of situation," assistant general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "Anytime you can get a pitcher who's had multiple seasons of double-digit wins on a Minor League deal, it's a plus."
Added LaMar: "He feels like he's going to be ready Opening Day, but may need more time, because there's a difference between throwing in a gymnasium and getting Major League hitters out. Hopefully, sometime from Opening Day to the first of June, sometime in that time frame. I think he still has a ways to go."Amaro said Benson is the likely final acquisition that saw the team add Geoff Jenkins, So Taguchi, Chris Snelling, Brad Lidge and Eric Bruntlett this offseason. The team preferred Benson to Matt Clement (who signed with St. Louis) and the still unsigned Bartolo Colon. Benson is familiar with the National League, specifically the National League East, where he spent a year and a half with the Mets in 2004-05, but of course, he can't help the Phillies until his right arm cooperates. "His expectation is to get healthy," LaMar said. "He knows our rotation, knows the competition and knows he's coming to a team that was the defending NL East champs. There are no guarantees of a job. He knows he's coming into a very competitive situation."
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.