Last night, the Kansas City Royals placed outfielder Andrew Benintendi on the 10-day injured list with a fractured right rib. The injury will cause Benintendi to miss playing against the Red Sox, his former team, when they come to Kansas City this weekend. As many know, Benintendi was traded to the Royals this offseason in a three-team trade along with the New York Mets. That trade netted the Red Sox outfielder Franchy Cordero, minor league pitcher Josh Winckowski, and three players to be named later. With the Red Sox-Royal series coming up, and every player involved either in the minors or the IL, right now is a perfect time to reevaluate the Benintendi trade.
Kansas City Royals
If the Royals can sign Benintendi to an extension that keeps him in Kansas City past 2022, they would be the clear-cut winners of this trade. Even if they don’t, having a solid outfielder on a cheap contract can’t hurt the rebuilding process. Benintendi’s $6.6 million contract looks even better when you factor in Boston sending the Royals $2.8 million.
Before his injury, Benintendi has appeared in 60 games for the Royals. After a tough stretch between 2019 and 2020, he is looking like the hitter he was early in his career. With eight home runs and seven stolen bases, he has the chance for his second 20-20 season. His .283 is batting average would be his second highest over the course of a full season. In May, he led the Royals with 33 hits and batted .340.
While the Royals are far from contenders, they are having a decent rebuilding season. At 30-35 they are third in the AL Central and sit a respectable seven games out of the Wild Card. With another move or two, they would vie for a playoff spot in 2022.
Boston Red Sox
If Cordero can carry over his hot-streak from Worchester then this trade would not be a total loss for the Red Sox. But at this point, his career in Boston has been a disaster. In 95 at-bats he is hitting a low .179 with only one home run. For a guy that was suppose to have some power, it was definitely not the start Red Sox fans wanted to see.
There is some hope though. Since being sent down to AAA, Cordero has gone one a tear. In 15 games for the WooSox, he is hitting .377 with 15 home runs and an OPS of 1.195. Replicating even a little of that would be huge for Boston.
Sent over by the Mets, Winckowski has been a solid starter for the Portland Sea Dogs. In seven starts, he sports a 2.39 ERA and has 33 strikeouts in 37.2 innings. Unlikely to make an immediate impact, if he continues to pitch well, he could be a September call-up.
Boston also received three PTBNL that were finalized earlier this month. Chaim Bloom has made it clear that all three players are far from making the big leagues, though there is a lot of potential. Freddy Valdez is only 19 and is already ranked as Boston’s 21st best prospect. Pitcher Luis De La Rosa has yet to play this year, but he is only 18 and was an All-Star in the Dominican Summer League in 2019. Grant Gambrell is in High-A and allowed one run in his first start with the Greenville Drive.
Swapping Benintendi for Cordero definitely hurt Boston in the short-term, but Bloom was thinking long-term when he made this trade. While PTBNL are tough to project, it may be a few years before Boston can evaluate their full return from the trade.