According to reports, free agent outfielder Andrew Benintendi has agreed to a five-year, $75 million deal with the Chicago White Sox. Jesse Rogers of ESPN first reported the signing.
News: OF Andrew Benintendi is in agreement with the Chicago White Sox on a 5 year deal, sources tell ESPN.
— Jesse Rogers (@JesseRogersESPN) December 16, 2022
Benintendi will return to the AL Central after spending parts of two seasons with the Kansas City Royals. The New York Yankees acquired him at last year’s deadline, but he only played in 33 games with his new team before a wrist fracture eventually ended his season.
This is a major acquisition for Chicago, a team trying to bounce back after a massively disappointing 2022 season. Despite being the consensus pick to win the AL Central crown, they struggled to a .500 record and missed the postseason. Adding insult to injury, they lost star first baseman José Abreu, to the Houston Astros in free agency. In response, the White Sox have signed Andrew Benintendi to the largest contract in franchise history.
Andrew Benintendi’s Career
The 28-year-old Benintendi spent his first five seasons with the Boston Red Sox, the first four of which he posted an OPS above .770. In 2017 and 2018, he drove 90 and 87 runs, respectively. He finished second to Aaron Judge for AL Rookie of the Year in 2017. Benintendi was a key member of the 2018 Red Sox, who steamrolled their way to a World Series title by winning 119 games (including the postseason). Not only is Benintendi a reliable hitter, but he is also a defensive plus in left field. He won his first Gold Glove with Kansas City in 2021. The next year, he earned his first All-Star nod. Across parts of seven seasons, Benintendi is a .279 hitter with 73 homers, 384 RBI and a .782 OPS.
Benintendi Instantly Improves the White Sox
Although his power has diminished recently, Benintendi remains a bat to be feared in key situations. Adding in his defensive ability and occasional speed (two seasons of 20+ steals), the White Sox are getting a well-rounded veteran. That is exactly the type of player they need to become a major contender. Benintendi will add steady contact hitting to complement a power-heavy White Sox outfield, joining sluggers Luis Robert and Eloy Jiménez. Putting Benintendi near the top of the lineup could lend the big boppers plenty of opportunities to cash in.
The White Sox needed to make a big splash after a disappointing campaign last year and losing their star player. By giving Benintendi the largest deal ever for a White Sox player, Chicago’s front office is certainly showing faith that he can help turn things around.
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Andrew Benintendi, José Abreu, Aaron Judge, Luis Robert, Eloy Jiménez