Breaking: (Not) in Left Field - Andrew Benintendi
The Yankees have a bunch of outfielders, but nobody really good yet for left. This week we'll look at options of who could be there in 23!
Andrew Benintendi Overview:
Coming out of Madeira High School- by way of Cincinnati, Ohio- Andrew Benintendi was a 31st round draft pick by the Cincinnati Reds in the 2013 MLB Draft. And, then instead of going into the minor leagues, Benintendi went to the University of Arkansas. Two years later, Andrew Benintendi was the 7th overall pick in the 2015 MLB Draft by the Boston Red Sox.
Going into the 2016 season, Benintendi was already a consensus Top-50 prospect after just 54 minor league games. During that 2016 season he would make his MLB debut Then, going into 2017 he was almost the consensus #1 overall prospect across Baseball America, MLB Pipeline, and Baseball Prospectus (who ranked him 3rd overall). He would also start the 2017 season on the Red Sox opening day roster and never look back to the minor leagues.
Andrew Benintendi would spend the 2016 through 2020 seasons with the Boston Red Sox, and though his tenure started high with a 2nd place Rookie of the Year finish in 2017 (finishing behind only Aaron Judge), it ended on a sour note after straining his right rib cage in early August, 2020 which ended his season early. That offseason, Benintendi found himself getting traded to the Kansas City Royals, where he would win his first accolades in the MLB with an outfield gold glove award after the 2021 season. This past year in 2022, Benintendi made his first career All-Star Game and then was traded to the New York Yankees at the trade deadline (for T.J. Sikkema, Chandler Champaign, and Beck Way). His tenure in New York would be short, however, after a hit-by-pitch broke his right wrist early in September and kept him from returning to action. He is now a free agent for the first time in his career.
Andrew Benintendi Statistics:
Andrew Benintendi has been in the Major Leagues for parts of 7 seasons. During this time, he has played in 745 games (of a possible 1032), which is a little unfair as it considers the entire 2016 season. Counting just from 2017, he has played in 711 games of a possible 870 games, or 81.7% of his teams games. During this time (overall), he has hit to a .279/.351/.431/.782 (109 OPS+) with 778 hits, 73 home runs, 384 RBI's, 69 stolen bases (25 times caught), and 309 walks to 574 strikeouts. This has also brought him +15.7 bWAR and +13.1 fWAR.
Over the past 3 seasons, Benintendi has played in 274 games while hitting to a combined .282/.347/.410/.757 (109 OPS+) with 280 hits, 22 home runs, 125 RBI's, 17 stolen bases (14 times caught), and 99 walks to 191 strikeouts. This has also brought in +5.5 bWAR and +4.1 fWAR.
Is he an Option? (AKA: What I Think of His Deal)
As I was beginning to write this, I learned that the Chicago White Sox have come to a deal with Andrew Benintendi on a 5-Year/$75 Million deal.
Reports were going around that Benintendi was looking for a deal similar to that of the recently signed Boston Red Sox left fielder, Masataka Yoshida, who signed for 5-Years on a $90 Million deal. Obviously, his ask came down a bit from that price point to now end up with the White Sox.
Ultimately, I don't think this is a good or a bad contract for the White Sox and Benintendi. Could he have gotten more? Ultimately, I'm not quite sure. He was just above being a league average hitter and just above being a defender. As long as he can be worth 2 WAR per year, he'll be worth it, technically. He gives the White Sox a player on a nice contract in terms of salary and length and somebody who could be moved without much worry at the end if they're not quite ready to compete. This is, however, not a move for the Yankees. I am happy they stayed away.
As I wrote in the piece on Carlos Rodon last night, this is the time for the Yankees to go 100% after it. Bringing back Benintendi would've been a move that a Yankees team feigning to be competitive would've made. Now he's not an option and that should (hopefully) be a good thing for the Yankees. Next week Ill highlight 5 players that the Yankees really should be going after if they really want to be winners.