Welcome to Boston.com’s Sports Q, our daily conversation, initiated by you and moderated by Chad Finn, about a compelling topic in Boston sports. Here’s how it works: You submit questions to Chad through Twitter, Facebook, and email. He’ll pick one each weekday to answer, then we’ll take the discussion to the comments. Chad will stop by several times per day to navigate. But you drive the conversation.
A couple of years ago Andrew Benintendi looked like he was going to be an All-Star for a long time. But he was mediocre in 2019 and awful last season, and now his name is coming up in trade rumors. Should the Red Sox deal him now, or would that be selling low? I don’t want to see him go if it’s for marginal prospects. – Tim P.
Man, this is a tough one. I’ve got mixed feelings on this. The talent, not that long ago and perhaps still, is undeniable. With a swing that looked uncannily like Yaz’s in his youth, Benintendi rocketed to the majors after being the No. 7 pick in the 2015 MLB Draft and succeeded almost immediately. In his first full season at age 22 in 2016, he hit 20 homers, stole 20 bases, drove in 90 runs, put up a .271/.352/.424 slash line, and played decent defense in left field. I thought he was going to, at a minimum, be the next Mike Greenwell as a hitter. And I’d hear you on some Fred Lynn comps.
Instead, inexplicably, he’s become more like Todd Benzinger. After another strong season for the 2018 champs (41 doubles, .830 OPS), Benintendi submitted an adequate ’19 season (.774 OPS, 40 doubles), but just 13 homers, with his speed and defense declining as he tried to gain weight to hit with more power. He also struck out 140 times.
Last year was as bad of a season as any good player has ever had. Benintendi hit .103 with a .442 OPS in 52 plate appearances with 17 strikeouts before his season ended with a rib injury. Last season was strange for everyone for obvious reasons, but during the 14 games he played he looked completely lost. It was bizarre, and as colleague Alex Speier detailed in November, there are some very alarming trends with his skill-set.
Now his name is all over the place in trade rumors, first regarding a potential swap with the Marlins, and now with Boston Sports Journal’s Sean McAdam citing Texas, Houston, Oakland and Pittsburgh as potential fits.
So should they deal him? I suppose it comes down to what they would receive in return, but given the miserable season he’s trying to come back from, I can’t imagine there are offers that would excite Red Sox fans. I suspect he would bring back a couple of prospects, something like another marginal candidate for the pitching staff and a decent middle of the order bat for the Sea Dogs.
I’d just as soon keep him. This will be his age-26 season, the talent is there, the offers will be underwhelming, and this team isn’t going to be a contender anyway this season. Might as well spend some time finding out if one of the best prospects they had in years, one who contributed in a big way to a World Series winner and knows success in the major leagues, can be salvaged. Frankly, he’s the kind of player Chaim Bloom should be trying to buy low rather than sell low.
But what does everyone else think? Should the Red Sox trade Andrew Benintendi? I’ll hear you in the comments.
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