Red Sox Rumors: Teams are actually showing interest in Andrew Benintendi

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - JULY 09: Andrew Benintendi #16 of the Boston Red Sox looks on during Summer Workouts at Fenway Park on July 09, 2020 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - JULY 09: Andrew Benintendi #16 of the Boston Red Sox looks on during Summer Workouts at Fenway Park on July 09, 2020 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

The Red Sox have engaged in trade talks for Andrew Benintendi

Reports that the Boston Red Sox were placing outfielder Andrew Benintendi on the trading block were met with an unenthusiastic shrug. The 26-year-old’s value is in the tank following a disastrous season where he looked lost at the plate before landing on the shelf with a season-ending rib cage injury. Many began to wonder if his stock had fallen to the point where no other team would want him.

Apparently, there are at least some teams willing to kick the tires. According to Jim Bowden of The Athletic, the Miami Marlins have emerged as a potential suitor.

While a deal isn’t imminent as the sides haven’t been able to agree on a return, the dialogue between the teams is an encouraging start. Miami clearly wouldn’t meet Boston’s asking price but the fact that they were even having the discussion shows the Marlins were willing to give up something for Benintendi, which means his trade value is somewhere above zero.

That’s more value than he probably deserves based on last year’s results when Benintendi was a below-replacement level player. He hit a pitiful .103 with a .442 OPS and only one extra-base hit.

In fairness, many players struggled with the unprecedented circumstances of the pandemic halting spring training for several months before rushing through an abbreviated camp to prepare for the shortened season. A slow start is excusable under those circumstances and Benny never had a fair chance to work his way out of his slump since he appeared in only 14 games prior to the injury. It’s highly unlikely that Benintendi would have continued to struggle to this extent over the course of a full season.

Benintendi had a disappointing 2019 campaign when he hit .266 with a .774 OPS and was worth 1.8 WAR. That’s still serviceable production worthy of being in a major league lineup.

He isn’t that far removed from being an emerging star. Benintendi hit .290 with an .830 OPS, 16 home runs, 21 steals and was a Gold Glove finalist in 2018. He joined the 20 homer/20 steals club the previous year. That type of potential might still be there for a player who should only be in the early stages of his prime years.

More from Red Sox Rumors

Why wouldn’t a team like the Marlins buy low on a player with Benintendi’s skill set? Miami made the playoffs last season for the first time since they won the World Series in 2003. Benny has championship experience that can provide value and he’s young enough to fit their window.

The Marlins have one of baseball’s best farm systems, ranked fifth by last fall. They have six prospects ranked in MLB Pipeline’s top-100. Benny’s value has probably regressed to the point that he’s no longer worth a top-100 prospect but it wouldn’t hurt the Red Sox to ask. Miami can offer a player from that elite list without surrendering any of their top handful of prospects. Even if those six players are off limits, the deep Marlins system still includes some appealing talent further down their rankings.

If talks stall with the Marlins, Bowden’s report indicates “other teams also have been involved.” Many of these potentials suitors are likely doing their due diligence but at least there’s some interest brewing.

The Red Sox might even settle for a minimal return simply to clear Benintendi’s $6.6 million salary from their books and open a roster spot. A pure salary dump would be a disappointing outcome for a player with Benny’s upside and a horrendous waste of resources. If the money freed up from that deal can be put toward signing a free-agent corner outfield replacement such as Marcell Ozuna or Michael Brantley, perhaps the front office feels it’s worthwhile to wash their hands of Benintendi in order to find a more reliable upgrade.

dark. Next. Not the time to extend Rafael Devers

It’s starting to look more likely that Benintendi won’t be patrolling left field for the Red Sox on Opening Day. If he does get moved this winter, Boston better get a desirable asset in return or use the savings from shedding his salary to sign one of the top free-agent outfielders. Preferably both. Otherwise, it’s going to be tough to sell the trade to their fans, especially if Benny bounces back with a solid season in another uniform.