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Andrew Benintendi Inks History-Making Deal with White Sox

Eric Elliot

Home » Featured » Andrew Benintendi Inks History-Making Deal with White Sox

Introduction

In November 2022, outfielder Andrew Benintendi, a rising star in the world of sports, signed a 5-year, $75 million contract with the Chicago White Sox. This deal, which includes a $3 million signing bonus, represents the largest guaranteed contract in franchise history. The 28-year-old Benintendi has long been a target for the White Sox in the sport of baseball, and his addition fills key needs for the club as they look to contend in 2023 after a disappointing 2022 season. Additionally, the White Sox have also shown an interest in the realm of esports, exploring ways to expand their presence beyond traditional sports.

Benintendi’s Path to Stardom

Benintendi was drafted 7th overall by the Boston Red Sox in 2015, one pick before the White Sox selected pitcher Carson Fulmer. Benintendi quickly made his MLB debut in 2016 and went on to win Rookie of the Year honors in 2018. After being traded to the Kansas City Royals in 2021, Benintendi earned his first All-Star selection in 2022 on the strength of a .304 batting average. He entered free agency as one of the top available outfielders.

Contract Particulars

The 5-year deal is worth $75 million in total. Benintendi will earn $14 million in 2023, followed by $15 million in 2024, $16 million in 2025, $17 million in 2026, and $13 million in the final year of 2027. The contract includes an opt-out clause after 2024. There is also a limited no-trade clause protecting Benintendi.

Putting the Deal in Context

At $75 million over 5 years, Benintendi’s contract is sizable for a player with his statistical profile. While he doesn’t have huge home run power, he provides value with his contact hitting, defense, and versatility. The deal compares favorably to contracts given to other top free agent outfielders this offseason, like Brandon Nimmo’s $162 million pact. The White Sox likely had to exceed market value somewhat to lure Benintendi.

Why the White Sox Went All in on Benintendi

Given their longstanding interest dating back to the 2015 draft, it’s no surprise the White Sox pursued Benintendi in free agency. His left-handed bat helps balance a righty-heavy lineup. Benintendi should also improve the team’s mediocre outfield defense from 2022. His ability to grind out at-bats and post strong on-base percentages fills important lineup needs.

Benintendi’s Potential Impact

Benintendi figures to play left or center field, providing above-average defense at either spot. His left-handed bat should thrive near the top of the order. Benintendi offers versatility to play any outfield position if needed. With his addition, Eloy Jiménez can serve as the primary DH after struggling defensively as an outfielder in 2022.

Roster Outlook with New Addition

Adding Benintendi allows the White Sox to shift talent into more suitable roles. Jiménez will DH, while Andrew Vaughn can move from the outfield to his natural position of first base following José Abreu’s departure. With players slotted into optimal defensive positions, the White Sox should see an overall improvement in 2023.

Areas of Need Remain

While the Benintendi signing is a major move, the White Sox still have room for upgrades. Second base remains an open competition headed into spring training. The team could also add catching depth behind Yasmani Grandal. Bolstering pitching depth is another potential area to address as the offseason continues.

GM Rick Hahn’s Thoughts

GM Rick Hahn highlighted Benintendi’s offensive and defensive profile as ideal complements for the 2023 White Sox. He praised Benintendi’s ability to “grind it out” at the plate while improving the team’s outfield defense. Hahn said Benintendi “fit in a lot of different ways” the club was looking to get better.

The Road Ahead

With the All-Star outfielder now in the fold, the talented White Sox core will set its sights on contending for a World Series title in 2023. After a disappointing 2022 season, Benintendi’s arrival signals the team’s win-now mindset heading into the upcoming campaign. For the White Sox faithful, hopes are high that his record-setting contract will help fuel a championship run.