Andrew Benintendi trade analysis; What does this mean for the Boston Red Sox?

The Boston Red Sox completed a three team trade with the Kansas City Royals and New York Mets last night that sent Andrew Benintendi out to Kansas City. In return, the Red Sox received outfielder Franchy Cordero from the Royals and pitching prospect Josh Winckowski from the Mets, along with three players to be named later. The trade puts an end to Benintendi’s time in Boston only a few years after he seemed destined for stardom.

Benintendi burst onto the scene in 2017, hitting for a .270 batting average, while also providing 20 home runs, 90 runs-batted in, and 20 stolen bases as well. In 2018. Benintendi traded some his power for a better average, and also produced over 100 runs during the regular season. Benintendi showed his real potential during the 2018 playoffs, as he formed a deadly 1-2 punch atop the lineup with Mookie Betts and continually found his way on base. His pairing with Betts wasn’t just limited to the lineup, as the two teamed up with Jackie Bradley Jr. to continuously take away hits from opposing players. If you somehow forgot about it, here’s a reminder of Benintendi’s skill in the field.

But then Benintendi’s regressed in 2019. Pretty much all of his stats went down from his 2018 season, but it wasn’t enough to the point where it was a huge cause for concern. Then came 2020. Benintendi only played 14 games due to injury, but when he was playing he wasn’t much help. In those 14 games, Benintendi managed only four hits, posting a woeful .103 batting average. He failed to hit a home run, and had only one run batted in. Benintendi’s regression is almost unbelievable, as he went from being a key piece to a championship team, to pretty much unplayable last season when he was healthy.

And now he’s gone. While Benintendi is only 26, meaning there’s still hope that he could find his way, the Red Sox front office clearly felt he was a lost cause at this point, despite whatever General Manager Chaim Bloom wants to say in his press conferences. It’s a risky move, but the Red Sox managed to get something in return for a player who barely hit .100 last season, which is better than getting nothing.

With the three players to be named later involved in this deal, there’s still a lot left to come from this deal. The main piece from Kansas City is Franchy Cordero. Similar to Benintendi, Cordero struggled through much of last season with injuries and poor performance, as he only managed to play in 16 games. Cordero’s numbers so far throughout his career are nothing to write home about, but he’s got some potential that the Red Sox can look to unearth.

The most we’ve seen from Cordero came in 2018, when he played 40 games for the San Diego Padres. Cordero hit .237, seven home runs, and produced 19 runs and runs batted in a piece, while also picking up five steals. If you prorate those numbers over a full 162 game season, Cordero would hit close to 30 home runs, while picking up around 75 runs and RBI’s apiece, and 20 steals. Despite the low batting average, those are pretty solid numbers for a full season.

The problem is Cordero can’t seem to stay on the field. He only played in nine games in 2019, so pretty much any of the progress he made in 2018 was lost. It seems very risky to rely on Cordero to be an everyday starter, but the Red Sox currently have a stunning lack of depth in their outfield, so unless something changes, they may be forced to do so. Jackie Bradley Jr. still remains a free agent, and his return seems to make a lot more sense now that Benintendi is out of the picture.

The three players to be named later make it tough to truly judge the deal here, but with the information we currently have, this move feels a little risky for the Sox. It’s highly unlikely that Benintendi would put up numbers similar to last season, and he’s young enough where he still can find a way to produce like he had done previously. It would be one thing if the Sox got a nice prospect or a decent replacement, but their main piece back seems to have pretty similar issues to Benintendi, just over a longer period of time. With Benintendi, you know that he’s had success before, but Cordero has had very limited success in his very limited playing time. Maybe they will actually get a return from the PTBNL’s, but this move feels a bit forced for the time being.

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