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Joaquin Benoit Traded to Seattle Mariners

The first major trade of the offseason sees Joaquin Benoit sent to Seattle.

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

The offseason continues for the Padres with another trade today. This time, it's one where a notable piece of the Padres is headed to their natural rival.

Benoit, who has been with San Diego since December 2013, was set to earn 8 million dollars after having his 2016 option picked up last week. According to Dennis Lin, it will clear 7.5 million in salary for 2016. That's some good money to be laying around for the right opportunity after a rather disappointing 2015 season for the Padres. Preller will find somewhere to use the cash.

At 38 years old, Benoit heads back to the American League after putting up good numbers as the set-up man and occasional closer during his 2 seasons in a Padres uniform.  As a Padre, the reliever posted a 1.96 ERA to go with a 10-7 record. In 2015, Benoit led the team in appearances with 67.

With his exit from the bullpen, the Padres will need to fill the set-up man role left by Benoit.

Another pitcher who may be looked at to fill the gap is Nick Vincent.

Looking at the return for Benoit, both players will start in the minors.

De Los Santos is only 19 years old. He spent his first professional season with the Mariners Rookie League team and their Low A team in Everett going undefeated in both leagues. He finished 2015 with a 6-0 record, a 3.47 ERA overall, and 71 strikeouts in 62.1 innings.

Ward is a 23 year old infielder who has spent time at 2B and SS during his two years in the Mariners farm system. He played for their A and High-A team in 2015 batting .278 with 9 home runs, 55 RBI and 13 stolen bases. In the field, Ward committed 6 errors at 2B during his 83 games played at the position in 2015.

It will be interesting to see how the rest of the offseason will continue to play out, but as of right now, Corey Brock feels that De Los Santos, who is "the big piece" may fall in the top 10 of the Padres prospect rankings.

This move by A.J. Preller is the first real step towards replacing those that may be lost to free agency by freeing up money and getting players back into the farm system for the future