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KC Royals LF Andrew Benintendi listed as ‘lead’ trade candidate by MLB

By on June 5, 2022 0

The Kansas City Royals had one of their worst season starts in franchise history, but left fielder Andrew Benintendi is having perhaps the best campaign of his seven-year career.

In 51 games heading into Sunday’s game, the 27-year-old cut .328/.392/.423 with a pair of home runs and 17 RBIs. He’s hitting at a career low 14.2% and walking at a 9.4% rate to start. Benintendi’s power hasn’t been there this season but other than that, the 2021 Golden Glove winner has been fantastic. His 139 wRC+, per FanGraphs, is eighth among all big league outfielders. Despite being part of a bad team, Benintendi has been nothing short of excellent in 2022.

May 13, 2022;  Denver, Colorado, USA;  Kansas City Royals left fielder Andrew Benintendi (16) triple RBI in the seventh inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field.  Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY <a class=Sports” decoding=”async” src=”https://www.si.com/.image/c_limit%2Ccs_srgb%2Cfl_progressive%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_700/MTg5NDgzMDI3MjEzMDY3ODcz/usatsi_18265054.jpg” height=”2827″ width=”4192″ srcset=”data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIAAAAAAAP///yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7″ itemprop=”contentUrl url”/>

There are some caveats to this level of production though: Benintendi is a free agent at the end of this season and the Royals have yet to offer him a contract extension during the year. As such, many are starting to claim that the club is wrapping him up in a trade that could eventually fire prospects. If Kansas City sits still and loses Benintendi to the open market this winter, it won’t get those hypothetical trade returns. MLB.com recently listed some of its great commercial candidates for this summer, and Benintendi was part of this group. Here’s why :

Kansas City was hoping to challenge for a playoff spot this year, but at 16-33, the Royals are 12 games behind the Twins in the AL Central and 9 1/2 games in an AL Wild Card berth. Benintendi earns $8.5 million in his final year as an umpire and is set to become a free agent at the end of the year, making him a prime trade candidate for clubs seeking help in the game. outfield. The 27-year-old (he turns 28 on July 6) is down 0.337/0.402/0.431 with a 1.5 fWAR in 49 games, so he’ll be a solid addition to the top of some contenders’ roster.

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Benintendi, who recently won his arbitration case against the Royals, would undoubtedly help a competitor. It peaks at the perfect time, which coincides with his athletic peak. He’s likely to demand a good salary this offseason regardless of which team offers it to him, and several potential suitors are expected to line up for his services. There are no reports that the Royals are in talks to extend Benintendi’s current deal, so it stands to reason that swapping him is the best move.

In fact, Kansas City may be doing themselves a disservice if they go out the rest of this season with Benintendi. Not only would the Royals bet on potential prospect returns, but they would also lose the opportunity to open up a consistent opportunity for someone like Kyle Isbel or Edward Olivares to eventually return to the outfield. The Royals are entering a phase where they have more players than holes to fill, and keeping a player who is likely to leave at the end of the year anyway would continue to add to that bottleneck. 2022 is not a contested season, so why treat it as such?

There’s also a non-zero chance the Royals will re-sign Benintendi this offseason, trade him or let him test the free agent market. If the club really wanted him back, nothing would stop him from offering a new contract.

Trading him doesn’t change that, and maybe Benintendi would appreciate the opportunity (at least temporarily) to play for a contender and chase a World Series ring. Those things aren’t usually factored into negotiations — the Royals’ kindness wouldn’t result in a cut — but that doesn’t stop the two sides from revisiting a long-term future in Kansas City over the winter.

Whatever reason you want to use, there are several that align with the Royals benefiting from the Benintendi trade. It doesn’t have to be now (the trade deadline is August 2), but there are less than two months until that time has come. If Kansas City is serious about building a prosperous future and isn’t planning on extending Benintendi just yet, the logic is to ship him elsewhere. Not only will this help him play winning baseball for another team, but whatever the Royals get back will be icing on the cake. The MLB.com article agrees.