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Benson Doesn't Seem Likely

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With the health of Atlanta starter Chuck James now being called into question (See Alex's previous post), the Braves blogosphere is buzzing about free agent right-hander Kris Benson. The rumor originated from a Jim Salisbury article at Philly.com, however the extent of the original speculation has been blown way out of proportion. The only place where the Braves are referenced in connection with the 33-year old, who is coming off shoulder surgery is here:
there were indications yesterday that Atlanta might get involved.
The part that seems to be getting misinterpreted by fans and bloggers is when Salisbury mentions that Benson threw in Atlanta on Tuesday.
Benson has thrown privately for Phillies scout Chuck LaMar twice in the last week, a baseball source said after Benson's most recent audition yesterday in Atlanta.
This excerpt says nothing about Benson throwing for Atlanta, just that he threw in Atlanta in a private workout for the Phillies. Benson is a Georgia-native who lives in the Atlanta area and the reason for the workout in Atlanta was proximity to his home. The Braves did not send anyone to watch him (it was a PRIVATE workout) and there is nothing to suggest the Braves have discussed a contract with Benson's agent Greg Clifton (who also happens to represent Tom Glavine) or that there has even been serious thought within the organization about bringing the veteran starter on-board. Benson, due to his ties to Atlanta, has said before that he'd love to pitch for the Braves, however this speculation just doesn't make much sense. Atlanta already logjam of pitchers vying for the final two spots in the rotation, with Mike Hampton, Chuck James, Jair Jurrjens, Jo-Jo Reyes, and Jeff Bennett all being mentioned in the discussion. The Braves would likely have to offer Benson a major-league deal, which would cost more than some of the alternatives with a higher risk. The former first overall pick has seen a decline in performance from his first couple years and coming back from a major surgery just adds even more to the question mark. If it is determined that Chuck James needs surgery-- and it doesn't seem likely-- then maybe there is a small chance of this happening, however Bobby Cox has said things this past season regarding both Jo-Jo Reyes and Jeff Bennett that lead me to believe the Braves would sooner slot one of them into the rotation then offer a contract to a pitcher such as Benson; You can definitely toss Jurrjens into that category as well. I just wouldn't look too much into these rumors. It's purely speculation.

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