Boston Red Sox

By Matt McCarthy,

The Boston Red Sox might be looking to extend the contract of one of their core players, and the belief is that Andrew Benintendi could be the subject of those discussions.

Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston reported early Monday that the team has “actively tried to lock up at least one member of its core” in recent weeks, and that contract discussions with that player may pick up again soon.

Drellich wrote that it’s not clear at this point which player the Red Sox approached about an extension, but added that “speculation among industry sources pegged Benintendi as a likely candidate.”

It’s believed that the player would command a “large commitment,” according to the report.

Sources, according to Drellich, indicated that Chris Sale, Xander Bogaerts, Mookie Betts, and J.D. Martinez are not the subject of these contract discussions, leaving Benintendi as one of the few remaining players on the team that would seem likely to command a big-money extension.

Oct 24, 2018; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox left fielder Andrew Benintendi (16) catches a ball hit by Los Angeles Dodgers second baseman Brian Dozier (6) during the fifth inning in game two of the 2018 World Series at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

Benintendi will be 24 in 2019 and is four years away from free agency, meaning the Red Sox would be looking to buy out some of his arbitration years.

The left fielder hit .290 with 16 home runs and 87 runs batted in last season.

Red Sox manager Alex Cora said Benintendi will serve as the team’s leadoff hitter in 2019, with Mookie Betts moving down to second in the order.

You can hear Matt McCarthy on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s own Hardcore Baseball podcast and on various 98.5 The Sports Hub programs. Follow him on Twitter @MattMcCarthy985.