Unofficial news broke on Dec. 16, 2022 that Andrew Benintendi was heading to the South Side. His physical finally must have gotten a thumbs-up today, because the White Sox officially announced that Rick Hahn got his man.
No joke, here’s hoping the medical staff did their due diligence and really put Andy to the test. He suffered a broken hook of the hamate bone in his right hand on Sept. 2, 2022, and missed the remainder of the season, including the Yankees postseason. If there’s one thing the Sox don’t need, it’s another oft-injured player.
The Sox agreed to terms on a five-year, $75-million contract with the 28-year-old free agent outfielder. Cheers to the largest free-agent contract in White Sox history!
I know, I know. Let’s roll our eyes together now ... 1, 2, 3!
Interestingly, this isn’t a straight, $15 million per year deal. This is the White Sox, remember?
In 2023, Benintendi will earn $8 million, with an additional $3 million signing bonus. (It seems Benny needed a bit of cash-in-hand bribery to come here. I don’t blame the guy, AJ Pollock left $5 million on the table to get OUT of Chicago.)
Then, from 2024-26 Benintendi will earn $16.5 million each season, winding up with a final $14.5 million in 2027. So, Benintendi will be the Sox left fielder for much of the decade, like it or not.
While there are some rumblings that the deal seems steep, it is on par with other free agent outfielder signings this offseason. The AAV of $15 million for Benintendi is right in line with $14.5 million for Mitch Haniger, and a shade lower than Michael Conforto’s $18 million.
Benintendi will wear No. 23 with the Sox. He has previously worn Nos. 16, 18, and 40. Maybe he is a big Michael Jordan fan? Vince Velasquez was the most recent player to wear No. 23, so clearly, Benny has got BIG shoes to fill. Just ask the Pirates. Their VV hype video was FIRE! Don’t believe me? Here you go.
All kidding aside, Benintendi brings a much-needed lefty bat to the Sox lineup. Last season with the Royals and Yankees, the 2022 All-Star slashed .304/.373/.399 with 23 doubles, five home runs, and 51 RBIs in 126 games. He’s not the left-handed power bat that many Sox fans desired, but Benintendi’s 3.2 WAR from last season is head and shoulders above anything we’ve seen from that position in an extremely long time. Not to mention, the entire Sox team in 2022 had only one player with a 3+ WAR, and HE GONE — and I’m still bitter about it. However, if this signing means we will never have to see Andrew Vaughn in left field again, I’m pretty OK with it.
On the defensive end, Benintendi brings an average to an above-average glove. Benintendi won a Gold Glove in 2021, and didn’t make a single error in 2022. According to FanGraphs, Benintendi has led all MLB left fielders since 2017 with 31 defensive runs saved. After watching the circus the Sox paraded out in left field these past two seasons, Benny should be a sight for sore eyes in 2023.
Out of left field: Andrew Benintendi does have a fun name. So, what do you think Sox fans should call him? Take our poll or give us your own in the comments! We’ve got to find some way to keep ourselves entertained this offseason.
What nickname do you like for Andrew Benintendi?
This poll is closed
Ben Nintendo 64