As the MLB season approaches, more moves are made during the off-season. In the latest major transaction, the Boston Red Sox are involved in a three-team trade involving the New York Mets and the Kansas City Royals. The most striking aspect of this transaction is that Red Sox outfielder Andrew Benintendi, 26, is being sent to the Royals.
In return, the Red Sox will take over outfielder Franchy Cordero from the Royals and pitcher Josh Winckowski from the Mets. In addition, the Red Sox also receives three unspecified players: two from the Royals and one from the Mets. This is what this trade means for the Red Sox for the 2021 season.
Losing a productive player
In 2018, when the Red Sox won the World Series, Benintendi was a key player for the team both on the field and at the record. During the 2018 season, he hit a .290 batting average (BA), along with sixteen home runs and eighty-seven RBI’s. In the play-offs, he led the team with fifteen points.
Over the past two seasons, he has seen his productivity decline slightly. In 2019, his BA was .266, with thirteen home runs and sixty-eight RBI’s. The shortened 2020 pandemic season didn’t do him any good either, as he had a BA of .103, although he only played 14 games due to an injury that kept him out for the rest of the season.
In terms of fielding ability, he was in the top five field percentages for left fielder in both 2018 and 2019. Benintendi’s productivity may be on the decline, but he is still a young player with enormous potential. Cordero, 26, is the same age, but has had a limited career so far, playing only ninety-five games. In his career, Cordero has hit a .236 batting average with twelve homeruns.
In terms of offense, the Red Sox still have several prominent hitters who can get the attack going. This includes JD Martinez, Rafael Devers, Xander Bogaerts and Alex Verdugo.
In 2018, the Red Sox had one of the best outfields in MLB with Jackie Bradley, Jr., Benintendi and Mookie Betts, whom many consider to be one of the best baseball players. However, this trio has now broken up and Betts will be traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2020, where he would help the Dodgers win the 2020 World Series.
Jackie Bradley, Jr. is now a free agent who has not yet resigned from the Red Sox, but one of the star players was on the team. Now, with Benintendi in the Royals and Bradley, Jr.’s future with the team uncertain, the Red Sox need new players in the outfield to perform. Players who can fill this gap on the squad are Verdugo, Hunter Renfroe, Cordero and Marcus Wilson. Martinez can play outfield, but has usually been assigned hitter duties.
Concerns about pitching continue
In 2020, the Red Sox historically had poor pitching, even for a shortened season. The team achieved a total of 5.58 ERA (Earned-Run Average). None of their pitchers, starting or relief, posted an ERA under 3.2. One reason for this may be that they missed their star pitcher, Chris Sale, who missed the 2020 season due to Tommy John surgery.
According to ESPN, Winckowski was “ranked as the No. 20 prospect in the Mets system by Baseball America. He was also the Northwest Pitcher of the Year and a postseason all-star when he played for Class A Vancouver in 2018. He is a young pitcher, but if he lives up to his potential, he would prove to be a valuable asset to one of the weaker pitchers, rotations in baseball.
The Red Sox finished their 2020 season with a record of 24-36, finishing 5th in the AL East. The Red Sox need a lot to cope well to get back to their success last seen in 2018.
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