Saturday, August 22, 2009

Shining Star in Durham

Once upon a time in season number 2, a guy named Rafael Benitez signed the biggest international contract this world has ever seen. At 18 years old, Rafael Benitez instantly became the future of the Durham Radials. However, Benitez didn't come cheap. After lengthy negotiations with multiple teams, Benitez decided to sign a ML contract with the Radicals. The contract came with a record 34 million dollar bonus. After signing, Benitez spent 36 games in AAA where he recorded 6 HR's and 19 RBI's. After a short stay in AAA, Durham owner Krs96 decided to call Rafael Benitez up to the majors at the tender age of 18. Krs96 was right and his decision paid off. In 56 games at the ML level in season 2, Benitez hit .358 15 HR's and 43 RBI's. In season 3 Benitez didn't play up to expectations, hitting .282 with 24 HR's and 74 RBI's. Perhaps the pressures of being a team leader at the age of 19 got to Benitez. Season 4 saw Benitez take a big jump in just about every offensive category. His .324 average, 35 HR's, and 101 RBI's lead him to his first all-star game and a silver slugger. With jersey and ticket prices booming, Benitez saw his opportunity to get paid again after season 5, his last season before being arbitration eligible. Benitez took advantage of every opportunity he got. In a lot of owners eyes, Benitez became the leagues most feared hitter after his season 5 performance. For the second straight year Benitez was an all star and added another silver slugger to the trophy case. However, a .312 BA, 52 Hr's and 166 RBI's still wasn't enough to win Rafael Benitez his first MVP award. The upset Benitez didn't stay mad for too much longer, in his first opportunity for arbitration the Durham Bulls decided to skip arbitration and signed the 22 year old Rafael Benitez to a 5 year $11.5 million per year deal. I guess you could say Benitez is still blue, Durham blue. So at the age of 22, with 4 years of "major league experience", Rafael Benitez is already a 91+ million dollar man.

Rafael Benitez
Durham
Radicals
Age: 22B/T: R/R
Born: Oaxaca, MX
Position(s): 2B/CIF/OF/DH
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