Boston

Red Sox Trade Former Top Prospect Andrew Benintendi to the Royals

I know using “former top prospect” to describe a 26-year-old that just got dumped by his current team is a tale as old as time, but I’m pretty down on this move considering the return. Just a year after signing Andrew Benintendi to a relatively inexpensive 2-year $10M extension, the Sox decided to part ways with the former No. 7 overall pick. Granted, I have not been studying my Baseball Prospectus manual so I know nothing about the guys they got in return except that they are also underperforming castoffs from their previous teams.

In return for Benintendi the Red Sox received OF Franchy Cordero and pitcher Josh Winckowski, both of whom I’m not too familiar with. It kiiiind of seems like the Sox are just throwing shit against the wall though hoping they can catch lightning in a bottle with another team’s failed projects.

“I guess you never know, but the odds seem slim that the tools will ever come together. Maybe the Red Sox see something they believe they can fix, but the scouting reports on Cordero have always mentioned that he simply scores low in his natural baseball instincts.” – David Schoenfield, ESPN

Tony Mazz was not very fond of the return either.

In fairness to the Red Sox, Winckowski sounds like he has a chance. And let me emphasize – a CHANCE. He won’t be 23 until June. He’s 6-foot-4 and 202 pounds. In 54 career minor-league games – 53 starts – he has a 3.35 ERA with 237 strikeouts and 86 walks in 263 innings. But he’s also been traded twice already…Cordero doesn’t sound like much of a baseball player. When I read his profile, the first name I thought of was Wily Mo Pena, a physically imposing power hitter whom the Red Sox acquired in 2006. He basically lasted a year here before they became the second team to give up on his “potential,” which is a dirty word in sports. It’s a euphemism for “underachiever.” There’s nothing worse than a great athlete who doesn’t have the skills to play baseball. And Cordero doesn’t feel like much of a ball player.

Not to mention this deal happened one year to the day of the Mookie Betts trade. This franchise really should just teach a PR masterclass because there’s always drama surrounding every single move they make.

Maybe it’s elite foresight from Chaim Bloom and he’s seeing what nobody else sees…which is exactly why John Henry hired him. BUT, Benintendi is literally less than a full season removed from being a pretty good and promising young player. In fairness that was two years ago, but with a Covid shortened 2020 season shortened even further due to injuries + the 2019 season Benintendi is only 152 games removed from finishing 2018 hitting .290/.366/.465 with 16 HR, 41 doubles, and 21 Stolen Bases. You can’t tell me that guy just forgot how to play ball.

To make matters worse the Sox are even paying a little over $2M of Benintendi’s salary just for the Royals to take him. Making a little over $6 million this season, Benintendi would be arbitration eligible in 2022 and become a free agent in 2023. It would appear Bloom saw no future for Benny with the Sox so decided to get something in return while he still could.

If you’re feeling a bit, well, underwhelmed by this offseason then you my friend are not alone. When the biggest moves of the offseason are signing OF Hunter Renfroe to a 1-year $3M deal, Kike Hernandez (a nice utility player) to a 2-year $14M deal and RHP Garrett Richards (who is always hurt) to a one year $10M deal, fans have a right to be less than enthused. With Chris Sale out until at least mid-season while he recovers from Tommy John, the Sox have done almost nothing to improve the roster that finished with one of the worst records in team history last season.

Obviously the Red Sox are looking at 2021 as a bridge year while they try to get as far under the luxury tax as possible. Even Dustin Pedroia’s $13.75M AAV still counts against the luxury tax despite retiring so Bloom appears to be resetting the roster before hopefully jumping back into free agency next offseason. This is the kind of stuff that Theo Epstein used to preach, you can’t compete for a World Series and spend big in free agency, and trade prospects every year. It’s just not sustainable. So I understand that, but this franchise does feel a little rudderless. Especially for a franchise that changes its organizational philosophy every 2 years. I can take a down year or two if the team has a legitimate plan in place, but that blueprint remains to be seen if we’re being honest. At the start of next season the Sox will have their two best players in Xander Bogaerts entering his age-29 season and Rafael Devers entering his age-25 season so both guys will be in their prime. Now all Bloom has to do is build an entire roster of players around them in the next 15 months. No pressure.

Say what you want about Benintendi, but he still has the potential to be an All-Star and let us never forget him saving the ALCS for the Red Sox against Houston en route to the 2018 championship. Best of luck to ya in KC, Benny.

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