We’re all familiar with the “mystery team” as a Hot Stove idiosyncrasy, but how about a “mystery player?” Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston writes that the Red Sox have been discussing a contract extension with a core player, though he adds that it’s “unclear” which player has been the focus of those talks. Drellich notes that there doesn’t appear to be anything currently in the works with Mookie Betts, Chris Sale, Xander Bogaerts or J.D. Martinez and speculatively suggests Andrew Benintendi could be the player in question. The 24-year-old Benintendi has batted .282/.359/.447 with 38 homers and 42 steals through his first 333 games at the MLB level in just over two seasons. He’s logged two years and 62 days of MLB service time, meaning he won’t be eligible for arbitration until next offseason and can be controlled through 2022.
As shown in MLBTR’s Extension Tracker, Mike Trout’s $144MM contract is the record for an outfielder with between two and three years of service, although while Benintendi’s two-plus years with the Red Sox have been strong, he obviously doesn’t have nearly as strong a case as Trout did in 2014. More relevant comparisons likely include Kevin Kiermaier’s six-year, $53.5MM deal with the Rays and the respective five-year contracts inked by Ender Inciarte ($30.525MM) and Odubel Herrera ($30.5MM) with the Braves and Phillies. It’s worth noting, though, that both Kiermaier and Inciarte were Super Two players, and Benintendi will fall shy of that distinction.
Here’s more from the AL East to help kick off the week…
- The Yankees brought Zach Britton back into the fold over the weekend, but MLB Network’s Ken Rosenthal indicated on the air this morning that the Yankees are also still talking to free-agent righty Adam Ottavino about a contract (video link). Adding both Britton and Ottavino, a New York native who’s been tied to the Yankees throughout the offseason, would make for a dynamic pairing with incumbent back-end options such as Aroldis Chapman, Chad Green and Dellin Betances, though presumably the addition of Britton at least somewhat lessens New York’s urgency when negotiating with Ottavino.
- Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com provides updates on a pair of injured Orioles: designated hitter Mark Trumbo and left-hander Richard Bleier. Both players are expected to be ready for Opening Day, per new GM Mike Elias, but Trumbo’s case is a little murkier. The veteran slugger underwent surgery to a hole in the cartilage in his right knee — a procedure similar to the operation Dustin Pedroia had in Oct. 2017 — the lingering effects of which limited Pedroia to just three games in 2018. Trumbo has not yet progressed to running but feels that the strength in his knee is “where it needs to be” and adds that he is largely pain-free at this juncture. Bleier, meanwhile, suffered a grade 3 lat tear in his pitching shoulder in June but has progressed to throwing off flat ground without pain. His next step will be pitching off a mound. Kubatko also talked to both players about their early impressions of new skipper Brandon Hyde, which should be of particular interest to O’s fans.