Continuing with the weird 2021 off-season, the Red Sox sent Andrew Benintendi to the Royals in a 3 way trade with the Kansas City Royals and the New York Mets. Now in just 3 years, the Red Sox have parted ways with their 3 outfielders from the 2018 World Series team. Following Mookie Betts last off-season, Benintendi joined Betts by departing via trade while Jackie Bradley Jr is still an unsigned Free Agent.
There had been rumors of Benny being on the trade block for over a year now. I was hoping for pitching prospects in return for the 2017 Rookie of the Year runner up. However, the prized return seems to be another 26 year old left handed bat with fewer Major League games played?
The Red Sox will be Franchy Cordero’s 3rd team in his 4 year MLB career. He’s a career .236 hitter with 12 home runs in just 95 games after being signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2011 by the Padres. I guess the Red Sox are hoping another change of scenery will help Franchy. Franchy has potential to be a stud with tons of power from the left side but it’s certainly a big risk as injuries have plagued his Major League career so far.
Is he an everyday outfielder? No. What does the 2021 opening day outfield look like without JBJ or Andrew Benintendi? Alex Verdugo will most likely be in Center Field. He played there every now and again last year while JBJ sat vs lefties. Verdugo will probably lead off, where he excelled last season. Newly signed Hunter Renfroe will be in Right Field. And Left Field is now open for business.
Looks like they will explore a platoon for this position starting with Franchy Cordero. Will JD Martinez patrol left field? Can’t imagine he’ll be in left too often as he’s another year older and has struggled defensively in his short time out in the field the last couple years. Michael Chavis? Maybe, but like Benintendi, he’s cooled off after a hot start in the Major Leagues.
Boston did get a pitching prospect in return from the Mets in minor league right-handed pitcher Josh Winckowski. Josh will turn 23 years old and was a 15th round pick by the Blue Jays in 2016 out of high school. He was traded to the Mets just a couple of weeks ago in the Steven Matz trade. Because the pandemic eliminated minor league baseball last year, Winckowski last pitched in 2019, splitting the season between A-ball and High-A. In the 2019 season, he had a 2.69 ERA over 23 starts plus one relief appearance, striking out 108 batters to 43 walks over 127 1⁄3 innings. Not a stellar pitching prospect, but a prospect nonetheless.
Does this move the needle?
So why do I think the Red Sox off season has been weird? They’re biggest signing to date is super utility player, Kike Hernandez followed by the re-signing of Martin Perez. And now they have departed with Andrew Benintendi, an everyday starter in Left Field. Granted he’s been struggling the past 2 years after a stellar 2018 campaign but trading an everyday major league player for another player, at the same age, not at the major league level is curious. Still time this offseason but as of now looks like 2021 might be another rough season for the Sox.