The Boston Red Sox’s open-minded approach to the Major League Baseball offseason reportedly includes a willingness to discuss trades involving outfielder Andrew Benintendi.
The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier reported Tuesday there’s no doubt the Red Sox are making Benintendi available in trades, although executives from three different teams came away with three different impressions.
“One thought the Sox were merely gauging the outfielder’s value without necessarily being committed to dealing him, one thought the Red Sox were actively looking to trade him, and one thought discussions fell somewhere in between,” Speier wrote.
This comes on the heels of Boston Sports Journal’s Sean McAdam reporting Tuesday, citing multiple sources, that the Red Sox have been entertaining offers on Benintendi for the last few days.
Sources told McAdam the Houston Astros, Texans Rangers and Oakland Athletics have had talks with the Red Sox regarding Benintendi.
McAdam also noted the Miami Marlins emerged as a potential landing spot Monday before a source familiar with their thinking dismissed the notion Tuesday. And another source suggested to McAdam the St. Louis Cardinals expressed interest while the Pittsburgh Pirates could be a possibility with Ben Cherington now serving as general manager.
WEEI’s Rob Bradford reported Tuesday, citing a source, that the Rangers are not involved in trade talks for Benintendi. That said, Bradford heard another American League team not mentioned has had deeper discussions about the 26-year-old.
Got all that?
Basically, it’s anyone’s guess whether Benintendi will be traded, where he’ll be traded and what the Red Sox potentially could receive in return for the 2015 first-round pick. But there’s obviously increased buzz surrounding a possible deal in wake of The Athletic’s Jim Bowden first reporting over the weekend that Boston had been in serious talks with multiple teams regarding Benintendi.
Bowden reported the Red Sox were looking for a “prospect(s) type return” with an emphasis on pitchers and outfielders.
An official whose team talked with the Red Sox told McAdam Boston was seeking either someone who could step into the starting rotation or a high-end starter plus a second quality prospect.
According to Speier, one team has discussed trading major league pitching depth for Benintendi. If Boston goes down that path, chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom theoretically could sign a free agent corner outfielder to replace Benintendi, on top of either re-signing center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. or seeking a replacement. The Red Sox currently have Alex Verdugo, Hunter Renfroe and, if needed, designated hitter J.D. Martinez as part of their outfield mix in addition to Benintendi.
“In conversations with other teams, they’ve shown a willingness to, should they trade Benintendi, consider pitchers or position players, major league-ready talent or players who are further away, or to explore expanded trades,” Speier wrote Tuesday, further highlighting the Red Sox’s open-mindedness.
Benintendi, a top prospect soon after being drafted seventh overall, finished second in American League Rookie of the Year voting behind New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge in 2017. He then flashed All-Star potential in 2018 before regressing in 2019 and spending most of 2020 on the injury list with a strained right rib cage.
The Red Sox ultimately could decide to keep Benintendi in the hopes of him bouncing back in 2021, a season in which he’ll reportedly earn $6.4 million. He’s under club control through 2022, and there’s obvious upside given his prospect pedigree and previous success at the MLB level.
The Red Sox have serious pitching needs, though, and trading Benintendi could be a means to strengthening that side of the house, particularly if the free agency market doesn’t appeal to Boston.