The Boston Red Sox have agreed to a two-year, $10MM deal with outfielder Andrew Benintendi, avoiding arbitration, per Alex Speier of the Boston Globe (via Twitter). The deal is set to pay out $3.4MM this season and $6.6MM in 2021, tweets MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand. He will count against the luxury tax at $5MM per season.
The news comes at a good time for the Red Sox, who are mired in negotiations to deal away fellow outfielder Mookie Betts. As for Benintendi, he was eligible for arbitration for the first time this offseason, and he’ll have one more season of eligibility after this new extension expires prior to 2022. He is due to hit free agency after the 2022 season.
Prior to reaching the agreement, team and player had been set to face off in arbitration. The Red Sox offered $3.4MM. Benintendi requested $4.150MM. It’s certainly noteworthy that Benintendi ultimately agreed on the sum put forth by the team (with the second year addendum). Benintendi is represented by Excel Sports Management.
Benintendi, 25, wasted no time in making his ascent to the majors after the Red Sox made him a first round pick out of the University of Arkansas in the 2015 draft. He has been a steady contributor in left since making his debut as a 21-year-old at the tail end of 2016. Benintendi’s best year came in 2018 when he put together a stellar campaign at the dish worth 3.9 bWAR/4.4 fWAR, more than playing his part in helping the Red Sox to a now-under-review 2018 World Series title.
Outside of that 2018 season, Benintendi has been closer to average at the plate, sandwiching a 122 wRC+ season in 2018 between marks of 102 wRC+ and 100 wRC+ in 2017 and 2019, respectively. He’s a solid baserunner, and though anecdotal evidence might say otherwise, defensive metrics have not looked kindly on Benintendi’s overall body of work, especially in 2019 (-10 OAA, -3 DRS, 1.4 UZR). Still, at only 25-years-old, there’s plenty of upside remaining in Benintendi’s overall profile, and for the next two seasons, the Red Sox will have him under contract at reasonable rates.