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Andrew Benintendi, complementary player.
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South Side Sox Player of the Week (June 1-8): Andrew Benintendi

Benny’s road to becoming the highest-paid free agent in White Sox history is stranger than fiction

[Mitch Ransdell is off this week ... literally, off the grid. The carrier pigeon sent north to summon him with pencil and sketch pad and simply the name, “Benintendi” either did not reach him, or veered off-course, incredulous. Sox Sketcher will be back sketching and writing next week.]

It is NOT Andrew Benintendi’s fault that he signed the highest free-agent contract the White Sox have ever handed out, in the near-50 years of baseball free agency. He probably didn’t even realize it, he was like, OK, Chicago, won a World Series, competitive most every year pre-Hahn, buncha stars on the team right now, even, $75 mil is probably like No. 10 all-time ...

But, as we all well know, Benny would be wrong, thinking that. The White Sox have at least once signed the highest-paid player in all of the majors. Albert Belle’s $10 million in 1997 out-earned the entire Pittsburgh Pirates roster, although Jerry Reinsdorf saw fit to agree to (or insert) a kicker that freed Belle if he wasn’t among the top-paid MLB players, so by Year Three, he gone. In 1973, Dick Allen signed a three-year, $750,000 deal coming off of his MVP season that made him the highest-paid player in the game. Had the White Sox successfully wooed Manny Machado in 2019, they would have not only inked their biggest FA deal ever, but employed the top-paid player in baseball for a third time — for a week, until Bryce Harper signed with Philadelphia.

Anyway, being an average player tripping into the circumstances of becoming the top-paid player in a franchise’s history isn’t Andrew Benintendi’s fault. Rick Hahn saw a left fielder with one almost All-Star caliber season on his resumé (albeit, five seasons ago), whose defensive prowess is largely exaggerated and whose most recent, age-27 player comp (97% similar) is Von Hayes (absolutely was never the highest-paid player on anyone’s team), and thought, “I GOTTA have this guy.”

Well, Benny has put up 0.4 WAR so far this season, which means it’s possible he equals the value of his get-acquainted $8.6 million of the first year of his deal. But Benintendi will need to put up 3.3 WAR per season in each of the last four years of his deal for the White Sox to break even on the investment, not the 1.0 WAR his pacing to in 2023. A reminder: Benintendi has broken 3.3 WAR just once in his career.

This hasn’t been laudatory toward Benintendi, as Mitch’s essays usually are. And if I’d just spend x hours on a piece of Benny artwork, I’m guessing I’d be a little more generous to the guy. It was a particularly low- and split-voting week, despite it being a largely successful one for the White Sox.

No matter the circumstances, it’s hard to celebrate this particular Player of the Week, at least quite yet.

2023 South Side Sox Players of the Week

Oscar Colás (February 25-March 2)
Andrew Vaughn (March 3-8)
Carlos Pérez (March 9-16)
Oscar Colás (March 17-22)
Cactus League MVP: Oscar Colás
Dylan Cease (March 30-April 5)
Luis Robert Jr. (April 6-12)
Lucas Giolito (April 13-20)
Jake Burger (April 21-27)
Lucas Giolito (April 28- May 4)
Hanser Alberto (May 5-11)
Luis Robert Jr. (May 12-18)
Michael Kopech (May 19-25)
Liam Hendriks (May 26-31)
Andrew Benintendi (June 1-8)

Top 10 MVP Standings

Lucas Giolito (42.0)
Luis Robert Jr. (27.8)
Jake Burger (22.6)
Seby Zavala (22.5)
Romy González (22.4)
Michael Kopech (18.4)
Gavin Sheets (18.1)
Oscar Colás (17.1)
Zach Remillard (16.4)
Andrew Benintendi (15.0)

Top 10 Cold Cat Standings

Tim Anderson (-41.4)
Yasmani Grandal (-17.9)
Yoán Moncada (-17.5)
Joe Kelly (-16.2)
Aaron Bummer (-15.1)
Alex Colomé (-11.8)
White Sox Offense (-10.0)
Everyone, Seriously, Everyone (-9.9)
Lance Lynn (-8.6)
Keynan Middleton (-8.6)

With his weekly MVP, Andrew Benintendi moves onto the lower rungs of the MVP race.

Writer Standings

Don’t look now, but we suddenly have six writers at .500 or better. Joe Resis continues to keep the pace, however. And with Ryiin’s W, no one with more than two games covered is winless this year!

If you’re interested in seeing more of Mitch’s work, or if you’d like to purchase original drawings or prints, contact him via Twitter (@soxsketcher), Instagram (@southsidesharpie), or by e-mail at Thanks for supporting local artists!


Into the valley of death ...

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