Kris Benson, husband of pitcher Anna Benson, has signed a minor league contract with the Texas Rangers. He will be in major league spring training camp today.
Benson has seen his better days. After starring at Clemson, Benson was the first pick in the 1996 major league draft. He was also the Dick Howser award winner for being the outstanding college baseball player that season.
Benson pitched for the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1997 through 2004, although he sat out the 2001 season after having Tommy John surgery. The Mets picked him up in 2004 and the Orioles traded John Maine to the Mets to acquire him in 2006–a deal the Orioles surely regret.
Benson was on the shelf for the entire 2007 season with a torn rotator cuff. In 2008, the World Series champion Phillies acquired him, but he only appeared in only two games for Clearwater in the Florida State League before going 1-4, 5.52 in eleven starts with the Triple-A Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs. The Phillies released him on August 30.
Benson is one of the few major league players whose wife is better known than he is. Wife Anna, who was a finalist in Fantasy Baseball Dugout’s Baseball’s Hottest Wives contest in 2008, has openly discussed that Kris and she had had sex at or in all of the ballparks where Kris competed. She also said that she’d have sex with the entire Mets team if Kris ever cheated on her.
Benson has had five seasons of ten wins or more, but he’s definitely a fantasy baseball long shot for 2009. The Rangers have two solid starting pitchers in Kevin Millwood and Vicente Padilla, but after that is Hawaiian Scott Feldman (6-8, 5.29), Matt Harrison (9-3, 5.49), Brandon McCarthy (1-1, 4.09), and 6′ 8″ Dustin Nippert (3-5, 6.40) out of West Virginia University. Jason Jennings (0-5, 8.56) might also get a shot, although he’ll likely start the season in Triple-A along with Benson.
Benson’s best shot is if there are several injuries ahead of him and then he could possibly slide into the fifth starting pitcher slot, but he’ll likely have to toil in Triple-A for some time before the Rangers show that kind of confidence in him to bring him up. It’s difficult to think of Benson as a legitimate 2009 Fantasy Baseball Sleeper.
In the meantime, he’ll have to be satisfied with scoring with wife Anna when the Oklahoma Red Hawks travel to play the Albuquerque Isotopes, Las Vegas 51′s, or (uhum) Portland Beavers.