How about a juicy trade rumor to bring you into your Saturday evening? The Red Sox have given that to us, at least if this report from The Athletic’s Jim Bowden is to be believed. Bowden is reporting that the Red Sox are in “serious” talks with teams regarding a trade of Andrew Benintendi. He also says, however, that nothing is imminent at this point.
According to multiple sources the #RedSox have been in serious trade talks with multiple teams re: OF Andrew Benintendi looking for prospect(s) type return with emphasis on P & OF....nothing imminent though— Jim Bowden (@JimBowdenGM) January 9, 2021
That Bowden said prospect “types” here rather than just prospects could be telling, as it could potentially mean they are focusing on players who could help sooner than later rather than just looking for the best prospects possible. That they are honing in on specific positional groups — and those they need most in the short-term — backs that up as well. It also makes the most sense as, despite how bad last season is, there is no expectation right now that they’re looking at a full tear down with a long-term rebuild.
And on its face, a Benintendi trade has made sense since the start of the offseason. Even if you believe more than others in a chance at a bounce-back, it’s hard to argue a Benintendi trade wouldn’t make things a bit easier to work things out in the outfield. Right now some of the best free agent options that would help this team overlap quite significantly with Benintendi, so if you can get some value back for him and jump on some of the free agents like Eddie Rosario or Marcell Ozuna, among others, you have to look into it.
The issue with a Benintendi trade has always been getting that value back. I’ve been skeptical that this was something that would happen as it’s hard to see another team giving up anything too substantial given what Benintendi looked like in a small sample last year (43 wRC+ in 52 plate appearances), not to mention his mostly average performance at the plate dating back to midseason 2018. On the other hand, it’s also hard to see the Red Sox giving up on Benintendi without getting some value back. The former number one prospect in baseball’s value is at an all-time low right now, and the team has believed in him too long for me to believe they will agree to any deal that values him too much based on the last 12-18 months.
But they are at least talking, which again makes sense. Given that he is under control for a couple more years, the market shouldn’t be limited to just purely win-now teams. His hometown Reds have always seemed like a potential target, but they are one of multiple clubs that would likely have at least initial interest. You don’t know if perhaps there is a team out there willing to value him in that way unless you get on the phones. Even with this report I am still skeptical of something getting done, but it’s certainly worth monitoring for now.