Benintendi goes to White Sox, Yankees face left-field void

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Jesse Rogers of ESPN reported that the White Sox and free agent outfielder Andrew Benintendi had agreed to a five-year deal. According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, Excel Sports Management has secured a guaranteed deal of $75 million for its client Benintendi.

The White Sox had a bad 2022 season and they were 19 among 30 MLB teams in runs while their offensive mainstay Jose Abreu left for Houston. Andrew Vaughn is likely to move from left field to first base to make room for Andrew Benintendi to take a position in center field.

The $75 million guarantee for Andrew Benintendi is the most money the White Sox have ever given to a free agent. It is more than the $73 million catcher Yasmani Grandal had in a four-year contract that ends after the 2023 season.

Andrew Benintendi, who is 28, was the ninth-best batter last season. He remains one of the best bat-to-ball hitters in the game with a record of .304/.373/.399 this year with the Kansas City Royals and the New York Yankees, who traded for him at the trade deadline. The left fielder won a Gold Glove and had the 25th-best strikeout percentage in Major League Baseball in 2022.

With Andrew Benintendi in, the White Sox now have a lot of offensive talent. In 2023, they may hope to do better than their 81-81 season. Pedro Grifol, who took over as the new manager, was once a coach of Benintendi with the Royals.

Andrew Benintendi was taken by the Red Sox with the seventh overall pick in the 2015 draft, one pick before the White Sox. He made his debut the following season. In 2017, he hit 20 home runs, stole 20 bases, and got on base more than 35% of the time. This showed that he could be a future star.

In 2018, Andrew Benintendi helped the Red Sox beat Houston and win the World Series by making a game-ending sliding catch in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series.

Since the offseason started, the Yankees have made it clear that they want to bring Andrew Benintendi back. During the Winter Meetings, Brian Cashman, the general manager of the Yankees, said that he would “love” to re-sign Benintendi. Even Benintendi hinted at a reunion at the end of the season by telling the New York Post in October that he was open to coming back this winter.

Andrew Benintendi was one of the Yankees’ best choices to play left field next season.

“Benny’s a guy who came in here and fit in really well,” told manager Aaron Boone while visiting Yankee Stadium for a winter festival and minutes after Benintendi signed the Chicago contract. “Obviously got hurt and had his season shortened, especially when he was really starting to play well for us. Whatever the ending is, if that actually true, he’s a great player and was a really good teammate.”

The Yankees have to find a new everyday left fielder now that Andrew Benintendi has signed with another team. Aaron Hicks and Oswaldo Cabrera, who both play in left field, are on the 40-man roster. The Yankees are still looking for ways to trade Hicks and Josh Donaldson, but so far they haven’t gotten very far on either front.

Cabrera only played nine regular-season games and six playoff games in left field for the Yankees. He had little professional experience in left field in the minor leagues. But the Yankees see Cabrera as more of a super utility player who could play almost every position on the field except for center field and catcher.

Michael Conforto and Michael Brantley are two left-handed hitters who are free agents and could play left field. But both had a history of the shoulder injury that surfaced during the last season. The Yankees could also try to trade for Bryan Reynolds of the Pirates but he has a high price tag. Max Kepler of the Twins is another candidate.

Will the Yankees miss Andrew Benintendi? What do you think? Leave your comment below.

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