Yankees should retain one free-agent outfielder who dominates during the playoffs

Alexander Wilson
andrew benintendi, yankees
Aug 22, 2022; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees left fielder Andrew Benintendi (18) hits an RBI double in the fifth inning against the New York Mets at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman tried to inject more postseason talent into the roster at the trade deadline in early August. He acquired starting pitcher Frankie Montas, relief arm Scott Effross, and outfielder Andrew Benintendi to help fuel the final stretch.

Unfortunately, all three of his primary acquisitions sustained injuries that kept them out of the playoffs. However, two of them will remain with the team while Benintendi heads to the free-agent market, but there’s a strong argument to make that the Yankees should retain him for the 2023 season and potentially beyond.

If Cashman can find a way to offload the contract of Aaron Hicks, who is projected to make $10.5 million next year, he can re-allocate some of that money toward Benintendi, who is historically a monster in the postseason.

The Yankees should seriously consider re-signing Andrew Benintendi:

The 28-year-old is coming off a one-year, $8.5 million deal he signed with the Kansas City Royals. He spent 93 games with Kansas City before making the transition to the Yankees. He hit .320 with a 38.7% on-base rate, three homers, and 39 RBIs with the Royals.

Over 33 games with the Yankees, his numbers took a dramatic turn, earning a .254 average with a 33.1% on-base rate, two homers, and 12 RBIs. His strikeout rate ballooned from 13.3% to 19.1% but earned a similar 10% walk rate.

After sustaining a broken wrist bone, Benintendi simply couldn’t find his way back to the baseball diamond, but his postseason hitting is something the Yankees will undoubtedly want to keep around.

Over 21 playoff games, Benintendi hit .272 with a 32.2% on-base rate, two homers, and nine RBIs. His strikeout rate is a bit higher than his career average at 19.5%, but he makes plenty of contacts, which is a necessity against better-quality pitching.

Ultimately, the Yankees could barely even connect with a baseball during this most recent postseason, so having a player that puts the ball in play is always a benefit.

Given Benintendi is only 28 and in the middle of his prime, signing him to a two-year contract with a player option after the 2023 season could make a lot of sense. Maybe somewhere in the two-year, $18 million range would get it done, providing the Yankees with a lockdown left fielder who can help them significantly during elimination rounds.

Of course, the primary focus is on Aaron Judge, but the Yankees shouldn’t forget about Benintendi, who undoubtedly has a ton of value when healthy.