The Royals have just added a key left-handed bat.
Per MLB Network reporter Jon Heyman, Andrew Benintendi will be a part of a three-team trade (pending commissioner Rob Manfred‘s approval) involving the Mets, Royals, and Red Sox. Benintendi will be heading to the Royals, while outfielder Franchy Cordero will head to Boston and outfielder Khalil Lee will be going to the Mets.
While Benintendi is a lifetime .273 hitter, last year he went just 4-for-39 with 17 strikeouts in 14 games before a ribcage injury ended his season. A 2015 top draft pick by the Boston Red Sox, Benintendi had a stellar rookie season in 2017, finishing with a line of .271/.352/.424 with 20 home runs and 90 RBI, and finishing second in the Rookie of the Year voting. He was a key part of the dominant outfielder trio on the Red Sox that propelled them to the 2018 World Series title. Benintendi will become eligible for arbitration in 2022 and scheduled to become a free agent in 2023.
However, despite being a two-time Gold Glove Award finalist in 2018 and 2019, analysts have considered his fielding “average”, and with injuries taking their toll, they seem to be on the decline as well. However, the Royals have been eyeing him for his bat, as a consistent left-handed batter is something they have been lacking as of late.
Lee was a third round pick by the Royals in the 2016 draft and was named a Baseball America Rookie All-Star that season. He eventually worked his way up to Double-A in 2018 and ’19, and played in the Puerto Rican Winter League in 2019 and 2020. Lee has a career .256 average in the minor leagues with 37 home runs and 192 RBIs in over 1,700 at-bats.
Cordero was sent to the Royals in a trade with the Padres last season which sent Tim Hill to San Diego. For the most part, the 26-year old Cordero has struggled at the plate, with a dismal line of .211/.286/.447. Injuries have almost severely limited his appearances to just 16 games total.
The Royals have been working diligently to build a contending team in an American League Central division that features the upstart White Sox and Twins. With the Tigers struggling and the Indians rebuilding, this is the Royals chance to work their way up the ranks.
(Photo Credit: USATSI)