Yankees facing stiff competition from 2 rivals for Andrew Benintendi

andrew benintendi, yankees
Aug 30, 2022; Anaheim, California, USA; New York Yankees left fielder Andrew Benintendi (18) rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run in the first inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

With Brian Cashman’s future now locked up, the Yankees can officially dive into Winter Meetings and make moves. This team is solid as it stands, but in order to clear that hurdle that has stumbled them for a few years, moves must be made.

One guy, the Yankees, are obviously intrigued in is retaining the services of Andrew Benintendi. Benintendi was acquired via trade at the deadline last year and was forced to miss the postseason with a broken hamate bone in his hand. I’m sure the organization wants to see what more he can bring to the table and what a full year in pinstripes could lead to. However, there is a tough market for, and competition seems to be hearing around, one Andrew Benintendi. 

Houston and the other New York team interested in Benintendi:

Houston has had some discussions with Benintendi, as reported by USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, which doesn’t bode well for the Yanks. Though, perhaps this could just spark the negotiations to move quicker — a la the Anthony Rizzo signing.

Keeping Benintendi seems like a no-brainer, and many fans believe he is a great fit and helps spread the lineup. His ability to make contact and hit it to all parts of the field, as well as provide defense stability and consistency in left, mean he’ll likely see a few offers come his way. There are alternative options on the market, like the Japanese star Masataka Yoshida, as well as taking a flyer on someone like Michael Conforto.

However, seeing Houston already nab Jose Abreu leads me to believe that they’re just set to gear up for another run. In order to combat that, the Yankees need to bolster their own frontlines and prepare for a 162-game battle that leads up to another crazy postseason.

Additionally, the Mets have been talking with Benintendi, as according to Joel Sherman, the Mets are interested in him as a Nimmo replacement. I will say, seeing him go across the pond would sting — though not as much compared to if Houston got him.

The Mets have been active to start the offseason, locking up Diaz for $90M, as well as bringing in Justin Verlander to replace Jacob deGrom, who went off to Arlington, Texas, with $185 million in his back pocket. Benintendi’s style of play brings a lot of teams into the picture because he is able to bat anywhere in the lineup 1-9, though cleanup is likely not suited for his style of play. A lot of the contract projections for Benny see him signing a 4/5-year deal for roughly $15M per year (good for 4/$60M). 

Yanks would do right keeping Benintendi, though other options are appealing:

Benintendi was good with the Yankees in his limited showing, and his last season as a whole was very encouraging. He abandoned his power almost entirely, and that led to him striking out less than he ever had before (14.8%). Additionally, he saw his walk rate climb back to what it was during his stretch with Boston to begin his career, as he walked 10% of the time. His .095 isolated power does indicate that he won’t be putting many into the seats, but he’s reworked his craft to better fit his capabilities. 

The Yanks should keep their eyes on Benny these next few days, but with Judge arriving at Winter Meetings Tuesday, that is priority number one. Benintendi would help this team out on both sides of the ball, and with his minuscule 9.7% Soft Contact %, you know he’s going to put solid batted balls into play. He’s a great player that the team should absolutely keep, but I can understand if some other options are preferred.

I still believe Yoshida would make a phenomenal Yankee and could help bring back the feelings of one Hideki Matsui. The Yankees need to be active these next few days, as with Trea Turner now having signed an 11-year deal for $300 million, all on top of including a no-trade clause, the market has been set. Let’s see how active the Yanks are.

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