The Red Sox have officially dealt Andrew Benintendi as well as cash considerations to the Royals as part of a three-team trade that also involves the Mets, the club announced Wednesday night.
In return for Benintendi and those cash considerations, Boston will be getting back outfielder Franchy Cordero as well as two players to be named later from Kansas City.
On top of that, the Mets are sending right-handed pitching prospect Josh Winckowski and a player to be named later to the Sox, as they receive outfield prospect Khalil Lee from the Royals.
According to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, the Red Sox will be sending approximately $2.6 million in cash considerations to the Royals.
Benintendi, 26, was set to earn $6.6 million in 2021, so as Feinsand puts it, the $2.6 million Boston is sending Kansas City will help cover for that.
A veteran of five major-league seasons, Benintendi is coming off a dismal 2020 campaign in which he went 4-for-39 (.103 batting average) at the plate with one extra-base hit and one RBI over 14 games before a right rib cage strain prematurely ended his year in August.
The Cincinnati native had been mired in trade rumors as recently as last month, but those talks died down some and it appeared as though Benintendi would make it to spring training still a member of the Red Sox.
As it turns out, though, Benintendi has indeed been traded to the Royals, a team that ranked 11th in the American League in outfield WAR (2.1) last season, per FanGraphs.
Since the time he was selected with the seventh overall pick by Boston out of the University of Arkansas in 2015, there were instances where it seemed like Benintendi could emerge as a ‘face of the franchise’ type of player.
The left-handed hitting outfielder breezed through the minors, made his major-league debut in August 2016, finished second in American League Rookie of the Year voting in 2017, and was nearly an All-Star in 2018.
From that point on, though, it’s fair to say Benintendi has been trending in the wrong direction and not living up to his former top prospect potential, which presumably played a role leading up to Wednesday’s decision despite the fact he is still under team control for two more seasons.
Perhaps a change of scenery will do Benintendi well. He does own a lifetime .485/.564/.848 slash line in eight career games (39 plate appearances) at Kauffman Stadium, after all.
As for the five players the Sox got in return for Benintendi (and cash), only two — Cordero, Winckowski — of them are known at this point, while the other three are players to be named later.
Cordero, 26, is a left-handed hitter like Benintendi.
The Dominican native has spent the past four seasons with the Royals and Padres, most recently accruing a .211/.286/.447 slash to go along with two home runs and seven RBI over 16 games for Kansas City in 2020.
A former top prospect of the Friars, Cordero is known for his power and speed, an interesting combination that leads the outfielder to best be described as “toolsy as hell,” as ESPN’s Jeff Passan put it.
Listed at 6-foot-3 and 226 lbs, Cordero has experience playing all three outfield positions, though he has played in just 95 games since making his major-league debut in May 2017.
Given his lack of experience, it should be interesting to see how the Sox plan on rolling out Cordero to begin the 2021 season. He joins an outfield mix that currently consists of Alex Verdugo and Hunter Renfroe. One of the organization’s top outfield prospects, Jarren Duran, could get some consideration as well.
Turning to Winckowski now, the 22-year-old righty was originally drafted by the Blue Jays in the 15th round of the 2016 amateur draft out of Estero High School, which is not terribly far away from Fort Myers, in Florida.
The 6-foot-4, 202 lb. hurler compiled a 2.69 ERA and 1.20 WHIP over 24 outings (23 starts) and 127 1/3 innings pitched between Class-A Lansing and High-A Dunedin in 2019.
Winckowski was not included in the Jays’ 60-man player pool at any point last year, but he was part of the trade package that sent southpaw Steven Matz from New York to Toronto in late January.
Following that trade, which involved four players in total, Winckowski had been regarded by MLB Pipeline as the Mets’ No. 26 prospect.
Per FanGraphs’ Eric Longenhagen, Winckowski “has a chance to pop in 2021 because he was pitching hurt in 2019 and still got guys out. He looked rusty during instructs but was also up to 97 and added a new splitter to an already decent slider.”
The three players to be named later the Red Sox acquired from the Royals and Mets in this deal will, obviously, be revealed at a later date. The clubs have six months to agree upon which players will be sent to Boston.
With that in mind, @RedSoxStats makes a good point in that the Sox may want to scout players from the Royals’ and Mets’ system before making up their minds regarding who those three PTBNLs will be.
Also, for what it’s worth, Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. made this transaction on the one-year anniversary of the Mookie Betts trade being made official, so there’s that.
(Picture of Andrew Benintendi: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)