A current look at the Red Sox Andrew Benintendi trade
If you read the early batting leaders, a former Red Sox outfielder has a healthy start to 2022. Lefty hitting Andrew Benintendi is on a tear. This is following a solid 2021 when Benintendi hit .276 and slammed 17 home runs. Oh, did I mention he won a Glove Glove?
The critical player arriving in Boston was a sometimes power-hitting outfielder, Franchy Cordero. Cordero never quite reached the promise predicted for him in San Diego and Kansas City. You can toss in your reasoning but just why was on display in 2021. In local parlance, “He sucked!.”
A trade has winners and losers, and the best trades are the ones that help both teams. Boston got picked on this one, or did they? You dig deeper and look at the rest of the returns, which are prospects. Just how are they doing?
I have viewed ranking prospects as a Sisyphus task since their careers are pretty fluid for the vast majority. The few fast-rising gems are quickly separated from their more lethargic counterparts who may rest in the minors until career reality sets in and it’s time to join the dreaded private sector.
In the Benintendi trade, Chaim Bloom collected several prospects, and the early indications are that right-hander Josh Winckowski may soon depart Worcester (AAA) and arrive in Boston. The scouting reports on the 24-year-old are favorable but certainly not migrating into the “WOW” category. Winckowski has settled into the WooSox rotation, and I suspect he’ll get a spot start during 2022.
The Red Sox organization also has Freddy Valdez, who is best described as “raw,” like buying unfinished furniture. Evaluators would consider Valdez a project, but the youngster did show flashes of power in the Mets system.
In 2021, Valdez was in the Florida Complex League as a corner outfielder. The stat line was a tad disappointing, hitting just .229 and suffering a power outage with no dingers in 31 games. Valdez is listed as being back in the FCL.
Righty Grant Gambrell was considered a mid-range prospect with the Royals, and with Boston has disappointed. With Greenville (A+), Gambrell went 1-6 before injuries struck, and Gambrell remains on the MiLB Long Term IL this season. The scouting indications are Gambrell could have possibilities at the MLB level out of the bullpen.
The Red Sox also had a speedy left-hand hitting outfielder as part of the trade. Khalil Lee‘s paper trail quickly went from the Royals to the Red Sox to the Mets. Lee surfaced with the Mets in 2021, hitting an uninspiring .056 in 11 games.
So Boston is still on the short end in evaluating this deal, but is it possible that Cordero could return to Boston? Cordero appears to be the quintessential 4A player able to rake in the high minors and be mystified by MLB pitching.
At Worcester in 2021, the demoted Cordero was an extra-base machine while hitting .300 in 78 games. Cordero also adapted to first base as a possible rescue line for an MLB return. And this season, Cordero has continued to hit.
Does Cordero deserve another chance? Cordero could get it but probably not with the Red Sox, even with Bobby Dalbec cratering. I certainly was hard on Cordero, often calling him Wily Mo Pena lite in honor of another slugger who brought perpetual hope to several franchises.