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Joaquin Benoit signing with Padres highlights active Wednesday in baseball

Mark Townsend
Big League Stew

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(USA Today)

Those anxious for the next big name free agent signing or blockbuster trade may be left waiting through the holidays, but that doesn’t mean general managers around the league haven’t remained active since the end of the winter meetings. Said activity resulted in a flurry of moves on Wednesday, mostly involving second and third tier free agents. There were also a handful of under-the-radar trades. Here’s a quick recap, beginning with the headline move of the day.

Joaquin Benoit agrees to two-year, $15.5 million deal with the San Diego Padres

Yahoo’s Jeff Passan was the first to report the deal early Wednesday, noting that its completion was still contingent on a physical.

BLS take: Assuming all goes as planned, San Diego will have a pair of relievers on staff with closing experience in Benoit and Huston Street, who is due $7 million next season. It’s assumed Street will retain his role with Benoit sliding in as the setup man, but there’s still a lot of offseason left and they may end up dangling Street in a follow up deal. If not, that would be a lot of money for a low payroll team to have tied up in two relievers.

Benoit, 36, has been among the game's best late-inning relievers after returning from a shoulder injury in 2010, but had never served as a full-time closer before taking over in Detroit in June. He went on to record 24 saves in the regular season, posting a 2.01 ERA. He added three more saves in the postseason.

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(USA Today)

Raul Ibanez agrees to one-year contract with the Los Angeles Angels

The deal is worth $2.75 million according to the Orange Country Register's Jeff Fletcher, though incentives could push the total value up to $5 million.

BLS take: The left-handed swinging Ibanez connected on 29 home runs for the Mariners in 2013, which tied Ted Williams for the single-season record for a 41-year-old. Only five of those home runs came in the second half of the season, however, so it's unclear what the Angels can realistically expect from him in the power department in 2014. The hope is he'll be able replace some of the production the team lost when they traded Mark Trumbo to the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Atlanta Braves acquire Ryan Doumit from Minnesota Twins

Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal reports the Twins will receive left-hander Sean Gilmartin. Jeff Passan first reported the deal was in place.

BLS take: Doumit's game is very similar to Evan Gattis, who the Braves plan on utilizing as their primary catcher next season. Both are catchers by trade, but can also log time in the outfield when needed. Gattis seemingly has more power potential based on his 21 home runs in 354 at-bats during his rookie season. Doumit, 32, connected for 14 homers in 538 at-bats, but provides some flexibility as a switch-hitter. Both will play a lot, but it will be interesting to see if the Braves end up going easy on Gattis behind the plate. They also have Gerald Laird under contract.

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(USA Today)

Colorado Rockies acquired Drew Stubbs and Franklin Morales in separate trades

The Rockies quietly hectic offseason continues. Early in the day Fox Sports Ken Rosenthal reported that Colorado traded left-handed reliever Josh Outman to the Cleveland Indians in exchange for outfielder Drew Stubbs.

BLS take: The 29-year-old outfielder figures to platoon with the winner of Colorado's left field competition between Charlie Blackmon and Corey Dickerson, while also occasionally spelling Carlos Gonzalez in center field. It makes sense, too, since the right-handed hitting Stubbs was much better against left-handers (.266/.361/.357) than right-handers (.216/.275/.362) in 2013. His speed will also be an asset as a fourth outfielder.

Soon after the Stubbs deal was announced, MLB.com's Thomas Harding reported the Rockies will reunite with old friend Franklin Morales following a trade with the Boston Red Sox. In addition to Morales, the Rockies also received right-hander Chris Martin. Infielder Jonathan Herrera will be headed to Boston.

BLS take: Morales, 27, has been an enigma early in his career. His stuff is unquestionably good enough to compete and even dominate at the big league level, but command issues and mental lapses have kept him from reaching his potential. It seemed the Rockies gave up on Morales when they essentially gave him away to Boston in 2011, but they'll take their chances again. He should serve as the third lefty in their bullpen with future closer Rex Brothers and newly-signed Boone Logan also on board. The Rockies also added LaTroy Hawkins to bolster their bullpen in November.

Other moves made on Wednesday:

• The Kansas City Royals traded outfielder David Lough to the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for third baseman Danny Valencia. Lough became the odd man out in Kansas City's outfield, so they wisely flipped him for a potential platoon partner for third baseman Mike Moustakas. Solid deal for both sides.

• The Arizona Diamondbacks and infielder Eric Chavez have agreed to a new one-year contract. Terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

• The Seattle Mariners re-signed outfielder Franklin Gutierrez to a one-year, $1 million contract. Gutierrez, 30, earned $7 million in 2013, but only appeared in 41 games. Staying healthy has always been his biggest enemy.

• Casey McGehee signs one-year, $1.1 deal with the Miami Marlins. McGehee spent the entire 2013 season in Japan.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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