Andrew Benintendi’s 33-game stint with the New York Yankees is all fans will get to remember him for. On Friday, the outfielder signed on with the Chicago White Sox as the next domino to fall in free agency.
The Yankees still need to address their left field situation, but they were smart to stand their ground with Benintendi, who ended up securing a five-year, $75 million contract. Good for him. Wasn’t in the cards for the Yanks, who could easily address left field more effectively in various ways.
Does Benintendi deserve $15 million per year? Sure! He’s an above-average player on both sides of the ball and is heading into his age-28 season. Nobody’s really going to argue with that.
But he wasn’t the right fit at that contract length/price for the Yankees, who, even before signing Carlos Rodón to a six-year, $162 million contract, were already faced with an escalating payroll situation alongside an incomplete roster.
And again, did this roster need Benintendi? He hit .254 with a .734 OPS in his short stint with the Yankees before fracturing his wrist. His revival with the Royals, while impressive following his 2019 struggles and 2020 injury, simply didn’t make him a necessity for the Yankees to retain (especially since he never did it here).
The Yankees lost Andrew Benintendi to the White Sox on a five-year contract
Additionally, until the Yankees find a way to rid themselves of Aaron Hicks, they cannot afford to hurl this kind of money at another outfielder. The most expendable position on the field can’t be costing New York $25 million per year for the next three seasons. That’s bad business.
Worst-case scenario, the Yankees can start Oswaldo Cabrera in left when the 2023 season kicks off, use Hicks off the bench, and then perhaps acquire someone at the trade deadline (Ian Happ, please). Or they could chase a more cost-effective veteran option like AJ Pollock and have him split time out there with Cabrera/Hicks/Estevan Florial. Is this the best situation ever? Not at all. But the Yankees don’t need dream scenarios at every position.
We’ll gladly take Judge and Anthony Rizzo back, a healthy DJ LeMahieu, and the best starting rotation in Major League Baseball while the left field situation sorts itself out.
Unfortunately for the Yanks, though, another cost-effective option flew off the board right before Benny signed with Chicago. Joey Gallo signed with the Minnesota Twins on a one-year, $11 million contract.
Man, that would’ve been a hell of a fit! Just imagine …
We kid. We kid because we love! But seriously, who knows … maybe Everson Pereira or Elijah Dunham or, dare we say, Spencer Jones, are ready at some point in 2023 to fill the void if the Cabrera/Hicks/Florial combo doesn’t work out? Austin Wells?!
We’ll worry about that another day. For now, the Yankees made the right business and roster decision. Going over the Cohen Tax to meet Benintendi’s demands would’ve perhaps taken the Yankees’ expenditures into the “spendthrift” zone.