Early returns on Andrew Benintendi's long-term contract with White Sox are brutal

Philadelphia Phillies v Chicago White Sox
Philadelphia Phillies v Chicago White Sox / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

Would former (very briefly) Yankees outfielder Andrew Benintendi be a welcome sight in left field for the Bombers right about now? Yes. Absolutely. They're running a shortstop out there near-daily who's struggling to hit, while peppering in Willie Calhoun and Franchy Cordero appearances. Meanwhile, Benintendi is hitting .296 with a .352 OBP through his first 81 at-bats. That sounds pleasant!

Would Benintendi be a welcome sight in the Bronx in 2025, though, which would be Year 3 of his five-year, $75 million deal? Based on what's been under his hood so far in his age-28 season, it certainly doesn't seem like it.

Even if top prospects Jasson Dominguez and Spencer Jones aren't beating down the Yankees' door by then, it seems unlikely Benintendi will be doing the type of exceptional things that can't be replaced by an equivalent player at a lower dollar value.

According to Benintendi's Statcast page, he's in the midst of making some of the game's worst contact, though he does make contact quite often. His seventh-percentile (!) expected slugging percentage and current barrel percentage, as well as his eighth-percentile average exit velocity, are more than worrisome. They're red flags so big they might as well be draped over the outer walls at Fenway Park.

And, uh, Benintendi's tough data goes deeper than that.

Former Yankees OF Andrew Benintendi doesn't look like someone who should be tied down for five years

Reading the tea leaves this offseason, it seemed like the Yankees really wanted Benintendi. Wanted him more than we expected them to. Wanted him ... for three years, maximum.

Benintendi, on the other hand, didn't seem to want to stick around in New York, unless the Bombers happened to be the highest bidder for his services. Based on how long it took him to ink a contract, it seemed like they might've been, for a while. As soon as they weren't, when Chicago blew the doors off with an extra year or two, he was gone.

Ultimately, the Yankees are suffering from his departure in 2023, but likely won't be on the back end of the contract. But that doesn't mean the team should be let off the hook; they needed a better plan going into this season than "hope for Benintendi, don't pay for him, don't pay for anyone else, either." Bryan Reynolds and Ian Happ have been extended. The market is bleak, not just for this season, but for next year. Benintendi's forecasted 2026 season doesn't change that the Yankees made a mistake here, too. Just ... maybe not the mistake you were thinking of.