The Red Sox will soon decide on the three players they’re still owed as players to be named later from February’s three-team Andrew Benintendi swap, per a pair of reports from Lynn Worthy of the Kansas City Star (Twitter link) and Chris Cotillo of MassLive.com. Worthy suggests that the Royals, who owe the Red Sox two players, could have some resolution within the next week or two. Meanwhile, Cotillo indicates that the player the Mets will send to Boston is expected to be the best of the three PTBNLs and must be settled upon by this coming Friday.
Technically, the teams involved all have until August to settle the deal, as PTBNLs come with six-month windows. It seems as though the matter will be resolved well before to that point, however.
It’s fairly common for teams to take some of that six-month allotment to evaluate the farm system of a trade partner. Oftentimes, the team receiving the PTBNLs agrees to a list of players from which they select, and those players can be tracked and evaluated over the coming months. That aspect was likely of particular importance for the Red Sox this time around, given last year’s lack of a minor league season.
The original trade sent Benintendi to Kansas City and outfield prospect Khalil Lee to New York, while the Red Sox received outfielder Franchy Cordero (from the Royals) and minor league righty Josh Winckowski (from the Mets). Cordero’s early struggles prompted the Red Sox to option him to Triple-A Worcester last week, which resulted in a fair bit of criticism of the trade from the Red Sox’ vantage point. Of course, Cordero is but one of five pieces who’ll join the Sox organization as a result of the deal, and judging any trade before the identities of all involved players are even known is rather short-sighted.
Benintendi, 26, got out to a miserable start in Kansas City, batting just .180/.254/.230 through the season’s first three weeks. He’s been on a tear in the five weeks since that time, however, raking at a .345/.395/.466 in 129 plate appearances. Cordero, meanwhile, mustered only a .179/.228/.274 slash in 102 plate appearances. He’s 5-for-12 with a couple homers since being optioned. The 22-year-old Lee went 1-for-18 with the Mets in his first taste of MLB action after being recalled out of necessity due to the team’s rash of injuries. He was recently optioned back to Triple-A Syracuse, where he’ll be in line for everyday at-bats.
The Royals control Benintendi through the 2022 season. The Red Sox control Cordero through at least 2023. Lee had yet to make his MLB debut when the Mets acquired him and has multiple minor league options remaining, so he could be a piece of their outfield puzzle for upwards of a decade, depending on his development and the frequency with which he’s optioned.