The Boston Red Sox finally parted ways with outfielder Andrew Benintendi on February 10th in a three-team trade with the Kansas City Royals and New York Mets.
Benintendi is heading to Kansas City to hopefully revitalize his career on a team that requires talent. The Red Sox acquired Right-Handed Pitcher Josh Wieckowski from the Mets and outfielder Franchy Cordero from the Royals, as well as a few players to be named later, and the Mets received Khalil Lee, a top prospect in the Royals system.
Before we dive into the qualitative facts about the trade, let’s dive into statistics. Benintendi has been a polarizing player when in Boston, and that description could be taken both positively and negatively. Benintendi is a career .273 hitter and hit .290 in 2018, the year in which the Red Sox won the World Series.
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He struggled in 2019, hitting .266 with only 13 home runs, and had a lost season in 2020 that shouldn’t really be in consideration when talking about his career. He only appeared in 14 games in a pandemic shortened season in which the Red Sox were one of the worst teams in Major League Baseball.
When looking at the Red Sox return, it screams inadequate. Cordero looks like a decent player but has never really done much with the opportunities he has been given. He has never played more than 40 games in a season and is a career .236 hitter in his limited opportunities.
Wieckowski appears to have some potential, sporting a 6–3 record with a 2.32 E.R.A in his last minor league season. Still, he is a 22-year-old pitcher who has not risen above Single-A. He could be a solid piece in the future, but he appears to be a few years away from making an impact.
The Mets received Khalil Lee, who appears to be the best return for Benintendi. Lee is a top prospect in the Royals system who is the same age as Wieckowski but has reached AA. If he pans out, the Mets will probably make out the most from this deal.
Looking past pure statistics, it is depressing that Benintendi, a first-round draft pick and touted future face of the franchise, was given up on so quickly. He has one bad year, with a strange 2020 that is just not even worth considering, and all of a sudden he is worth nothing. His contract of 6.6 million per year is not outrageous, and most importantly his value was at an all-time low. It is hard to get lower than the return they received for Benintendi, and it almost appears that losing him for nothing was better than this deal if he truly reached no value. If he bounces back next season and returns to even the .270 to .280 hitter with 15-20 home run potential that he showed in the past, this trade is a failure for the Red Sox.
It seems crazy that the Red Sox couldn’t get a solid, Major League level reliever for Benintendi. The bullpen is a problem, and while Benintendi is worth more than a decent bullpen arm, it would have been worth the return. This does not mean that Cordero and Wieckowski can’t make an impact. It’s just unlikely that they reach a caliber where it appears that this trade was worth it.
Good luck Benny, we will miss you in Boston.