Boston Red Sox

Apr 29, 2022; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Royals left fielder Andrew Benintendi (16) bats against the New York Yankees during the first inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

  • Brian Cashman and the New York Yankees have made their first big swing of the 2022 trade deadline, and it’s led an ex-Red Sox talent to New York, with Andrew Benintendi bound for The Bronx.

    One of the hotter names on the trade block, Benintendi’s move to the American League East-leading Yankees came late Wednesday night with word of the Kansas City Royals accepting a three-prospect offer from the Bombers to complete the trade. And it didn’t take long for the Yankees themselves to confirm the news.

     

     

    Benintendi, who represented the Royals in last week’s 2022 All-Star Game in Los Angeles, will arrive to New York hitting a career-high .321, and with a career-high .389 on-base percentage, through 92 games in 2022. The 28-year-old has also led the Royals in hits (111) and was second in RBIs (39) at the time of his departure from KC.

  • Jul 6, 2022; Houston, Texas, USA; Kansas City Royals left fielder Andrew Benintendi (16) and pitcher Zack Greinke (23) sign autographs before the Royals played against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

    Jul 6, 2022; Houston, Texas, USA; Kansas City Royals left fielder Andrew Benintendi (16) and pitcher Zack Greinke (23) sign autographs before the Royals played against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. (Thomas Shea/USA TODAY Sports)

    Benintendi joins a Yankee outfield that when fully healthy already features Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge in left and right field respectively, and a Bomber lineup that’s scored a league-best 525 runs and boasts a staggering 49-run advantage over the second-highest scoring A.L. team on the year.

    The left-hitting Benintendi has a decent history at Yankee Stadium, too, with .261 average to go with seven homers and 20 RBIs in 30 career games in The Bronx. (Yankee Stadium is actually Benintendi’s third-most common venue at any stadium that hasn’t been his home ballpark, too, for what it’s worth.)

    Benintendi also has some welcomed playoff experience, as he was part of the 2018 Red Sox that defeated the Dodgers to win the World Series, and batted .333 (6-for-18) in that five-game series win over Los Angeles.

    And while Benintendi was among 10 Kansas City players whose unvaccinated status left them unable to participate in a road series earlier this month, the Yankees don’t appear to have any doubts when it comes to Benintendi’s availability for a late-season series in Toronto and a potential playoff series with the Jays.

     

     

    Benintendi’s willingness to eventually get the ol’ jab of straight 4G wifi would make sense given that the Jays were among the teams who also made strong pushes for Benintendi prior to his landing in New York, according to reports. They wouldn’t bother trying to make that move if they weren’t confident he would be available at home.

  • KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - MAY 01:  Andrew Benintendi #16 of the Kansas City Royals bats during the 3rd inning of the game against the New York Yankees at Kauffman Stadium on May 01, 2022 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

    KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI – MAY 01: Andrew Benintendi #16 of the Kansas City Royals bats during the 3rd inning of the game against the New York Yankees at Kauffman Stadium on May 01, 2022 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

    As for what the Yanks gave up? The three-prospect haul is something, but it’s not breaking the bank.

    Beck Way was the top prospect moved in the deal, as Baseball America had him ranked as the 13th-best prospect in the Yankee organization prior to the trade. A fourth-round pick of the Yankees back in 2020, the 22-year-old righty has spent his 2022 campaign in High-A ball, with a 5-5 record, 3.73 ERA, 80 strikeouts, and opponents hitting .212 off him in 72.1 innings of work for Hudson Valley.

    The left T.J. Sikkema, meanwhile, shifts to Kansas City after making 11 starts for High-A Hudson Valley this season, with a 1-1 record, 2.48 ERA 54 strikeouts, 0.83 WHIP, and .165 opponent batting average against in 36.1 innings of work. Sikkema was the 23rd-ranked prospect in New York’s system.

    And then there’s Chandler Champlain. New York’s 29th-best prospect, Champlain was a ninth-round pick of the Yanks in 2021, and posted a 2-5 record and 4.30 ERA in 15 games for Single-A Tampa prior to the trade.

    Now, how does that package compare to what the Red Sox received in exchange for Benintendi back in Feb. 2021?

  • Jun 3, 2022; Oakland, California, USA; Boston Red Sox right fielder Franchy Cordero (16) before the game against the Oakland Athletics at RingCentral Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita/USA TODAY Sports

    Jun 3, 2022; Oakland, California, USA; Boston Red Sox right fielder Franchy Cordero (16) before the game against the Oakland Athletics at RingCentral Coliseum. (Darren Yamashita/USA TODAY Sports)

    If there’s one thing we can say about Chaim Bloom & Co’s 2021 return for Benintendi, it’s that they definitely got more than the Royals did Wednesday night, as Boston turned Benintendi into a five-player return.

    Of that group of five, Franchy Cordero has been the most notable. Whether or not that notoriety is a good thing, however, is a different story.

    Acquired from Kansas City with the hope that he could put it together as a big bat option, 2021 was a largely lost season for Cordero, while his 2022 has come with career-best marks in hits (45), doubles (15), RBIs (24), and runs (30). But Cordero has also struck out a whopping 74 times (fifth-most on the team) in just 205 at-bats through 68 appearances this season. He’s also proven completely incapable of playing first base, and made three errors in Wednesday’s loss to the Guardians. Cordero is now up to 10 errors on the season, and is just two behind Rafael Devers for the team lead despite playing 17 fewer games.

    In addition to Cordero, another piece of the Benintendi return who has appeared at the MLB level is starter Josh Winckowski. A 6-foot-4 righty, Winckowski has made eight starts for Boston in 2022, posting a 3-5 record with a 5.18 ERA and 27 strikeouts in 40 innings of work.

    The Red Sox also nabbed three players to be named later in the Benintendi deal, which turned out to be outfielder Freddy Valdez, and pitchers Luis De La Rosa and Grant Gambrell. 

    Valdez, who came to the Sox via the Mets organization, has spent the 2022 season with the rookie-ball FCL Red Sox, and has posted a .211 batting average with one homer and nine RBIs in 17 games.

    Gambrell has yet to pitch in 2022 due to an ankle injury, and has posted a 4-13 record with a 6.23 ERA, and with batters tagging him for 101 hits and a .295 average in 82.1 innings of work, in 24 career games in the minors. Gambrell was a third-round pick of the Royals back in 2019.

    The 20-year-old De La Rosa may be looking like the most interesting project out of the three PTBNLs the Sox received as part of the Benintendi return, as it turns out, as the Dominican righty has combined for a 2-1 record and 1.78 ERA in 25.1 innings of work between the FCL Red Sox and Salem Red Sox in 2022. Overall, De La Rosa’s minor-league career features a 5-2 record, 2.38 ERA, and 105 strikeouts in 90.2 innings of work over 28 games played.

  • Prospects are prospects and perhaps they’ll turn into something someday, but as of right now, it’s hard to say that the Red Sox came close to winning the Benintendi deal. Bloom and the Sox traded Benintendi with his value at its lowest following a 2020 season that came with a .103 average and career-low 14 games played.

    A healthy Benintendi then went on to rebuild his game with a year and a half-long run with Kansas City that featured a .294 batting average and 112 RBIs in 227 games, along with a Gold Glove in 2021 and All-Star Game nomination in 2022. All while the Sox have rotated poor fits and/or sluggish bats in the outfield over that span.

    Jul 4, 2022; Houston, Texas, USA; Kansas City Royals left fielder Andrew Benintendi (16) runs to first base on a single during the seventh inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina/USA TODAY Sports

    Jul 4, 2022; Houston, Texas, USA; Kansas City Royals left fielder Andrew Benintendi (16) runs to first base on a single during the seventh inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. (Troy Taormina/USA TODAY Sports)

    Ironically enough, Benintendi’s trade came just a week before the Sox were set to square off against his Royals.

    This is only noteworthy because Benintendi has actually yet to play Boston since they traded him out of town, meaning that his first showdown with his former club will now come on Aug. 12 when the Yanks come to Fenway.