FanPost

Exploring a potential Benintendi trade

I'm unsure how I feel about trading Benintendi considering he's still young (26) and has shown flashes; however, the past two seasons he hasn't looked the same. His speed has dropped, swing has gotten worse, defense has always been a question, and now he only has two years of control left. With the recent report about the team seriously considering dealing him, I considered a scenario that's been talked about before: absorbing salary for young assets. Some potential names include: Justin Upton, Wil Myers, Kevin Kiermaier, or Rougned Odor; however, I focused on two other teams: the Atlanta Braves and Cincinnati Reds. The Reds have admitted they want to cut payroll, whereas the Braves have World Series aspirations and certainly feel that they could better allocate resources to a middle of the order bat. The deals could potentially be done separately, or as part of a three-team deal, but I believe both could be seen as routes to improve the roster long-term. The deal(s)--with values coming from baseballtradevalues.com--would be laid out as such:

Braves receive (net +0.3): Matt Barnes (1.2)

Red Sox receive (net +0.5): Ender Inciarte (-9.4), Kyle Wright (7.2), Touki Toussaint (2.1), Nick Castellanos (-17.6), Nick Senzel (32.8)

Reds receive (net -0.2): Andrew Benintendi (5.3), Michael Chavis (7.5), Justin Dean (1.6), Luis Perales (0.6)

The last two prospects received by the Reds can be swapped around depending on their valuations, but those were just names that fit. These values are all close enough that this potential deal could justifiably be accepted by all teams involved.

Reasoning for the Red Sox can go multiple levels; to start, they would remake their outfield. Senzel could be viewed as either an outfielder or infielder, but in this scenario for 2021 he would be the starting second baseman (his natural position as a prospect) with the potential to move to left or center field (his position in the majors). Senzel, as recently as early 2019, was a consensus top 10 prospect in all of baseball (draft day comps of Anthony Rendon & Colin Moran) and will only turn 26 in the upcoming season and still has five years of team control. He ended 2019 with a shoulder injury, which had an impact on his 2020 as he looks to show that he can stick as an above average major leaguer. In order to acquire Senzel, the Sox would have to take back Nick Castellanos, who will turn 29 in season and signed a contract with the Reds last year now with three years and $48 million remaining, he has an opt out after 2021 season as well as a $20 million mutual option for 2024 with a $2 million buyout. Castellanos' career average 162 game stat line looks like: .274/.324/.472, 23 HR, 84 RBI, 112 OPS+, 155 SO, -1.0 DWAR as compared to Benintendi's: .273/.353/.435, 17 HR, 87 RBI, 107 OPS+, 134 SO, 0.0 DWAR. For the final outfield spot, Inciarte is regarded as a plus defender, not quite to Jackie's level while both have a similar profile on offense. In the playoffs, the Braves benched him for top prospect Chrisitan Pache as they also hope to bring back Marcell Ozuna. Inciarte only has 1 year/$8.7 million remaining with a 2022 club option for $9 million and a $1.025 M buyout. He would plug the hole in center field temporarily without much financial burden beyond the current season. Essentially, you swap out Chavis for Senzel at 2B, Benintendi for Castellanos in LF, and Bradley for Inciarte in CF.

By taking on Inciarte's contract, the Red Sox would receive a pair of pitchers. Kyle Wright, only 24, has consistently been a top 100 prospect ever since 2018 and would profile as a starter for the Red Sox (draft day pro comp: Sonny Gray). He has a good slider and an improving changeup, but has struggled with consistency at the big league level. He has five years of control. Touki Toussaint, also 24, was a consensus top 100 prospect pre-2019 (comp: Neftali Feliz) who could profile as either a starter or reliever with a good curveball and power fastball, but could improve his control. The Sox would have four years of control with Touki.

When considering the contracts, the luxury tax isn't a large concern. Swapping out Barnes & Benintendi with Castellanos and Inciarte only adds ~$11 million to the luxury tax. Chavis, Wright, and Touissant all make the minimum as none have reached arbitration. As it stands now, the Red Sox are ~$27.8 million under the luxury tax. Which would still leave room for additions to the bullpen. The Braves add a piece to the bullpen while saving money to use for their lineup, as they also have an assortment of young pitching so losing Wright and Touissant wouldn't hurt that much. I'm not fully sold on Chavis going forward, I like him personally, but feel as though he hasn't shown enough quite yet to justify when compared to Senzel. Additionally, Benintendi is a Cincinnati native and the homecoming could appeal to both him and the Reds who are desperate to save money. With the moves laid out, this is what the Sox roster would look like:

RF Verdugo 3B Devers SS Xander DH JD LF Castellanos C Vazquez 1B Dalbec 2B Senzel CF Inciarte with Arauz, Plawecki, Arroyo & Renfroe on the bench.

The rotation would look like: 1. Eddy 2. Eovaldi 3. Pivetta 4. Wright 5. Touissant/Andriese platoon until Sale is back and healthy. The bullpen would include Valdez, Brasier, Taylor, Hernandez, Brewer, Walden, and potential additions as well (I do like Keone Kela & Archie Bradley at around $5 mill).

Would appreciate any thoughts on a scenario like this! I'm not sure how likely this would be, assuming that if the Reds were to move Senzel it wouldn't be attaching him to a bad contract, but with the way owners are crying poor this year, I guess anything is possible.