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Royals acquire Benintendi from Boston in three-team deal

Karl Zinke
The Examiner
The Kansas City Royals acquired Boston Red Sox outfielder Andrew Benintendi in a three-team trade involving the New York Mets Wednesday night. The Royals, who also get cash, are sending outfielder Franchy Cordero to the Red Sox and outfield prospect Khalil Lee to the Mets as part of the deal.

The Kansas City Royals added an established bat to their lineup late Wednesday night.

The Royals announced they had acquired outfielder Andrew Benintendi and cash considerations from the Boston Red Sox as part of a three-team trade involving the New York Mets.

The Royals, in exchange, will send outfielder Franchy Cordero and a pair of players to be named to the Red Sox and outfielder prospect Khalil Lee to the Mets. The Mets also sent minor league right-handed pitcher Josh Winckowski and a player to be named later to Boston.

Benintendi, who finished second in American League Rookie of the Year voting to New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge in 2017, hit only .103 for the Red Sox last season but was limited to just 14 games because of a rib injury.

Red Sox Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom said he had faith Benintendi would bounce back.

“Andrew’s coming off two years that he was capable of more than he showed on the field," Bloom said. “Last year I was optimistic about Andrew, and I still am."

In 2019, he hit .266 with 13 home runs, 40 doubles, 68 RBIs, 10 steals and a .343 on-base percentage. Defensively, he recorded nine outfield assists, which tied for sixth in the AL overall and ranked third among all left fielders.

Benintendi has hit .273 with 51 home runs, 260 RBIs, 53 steals, a .353 on-base percentage and a .789 OPS since 2016.

Benintendi, 26, led all players with 15 runs during Boston's 2018 postseason run, when he joined Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr. in the Red Sox outfield. Betts, who was the AL MVP that season, was traded to the Dodgers in a salary dump last spring, and Bradley is a free agent who remains unsigned.

“I wouldn’t have predicted it, but we are where we are,” Red Sox general manager Brian O’Halloran said.

The No. 7 overall pick in the 2015 draft, Benintendi batted .290 with 16 homers and 87 RBIs while helping Boston to a franchise-record 108 regular-season wins and the World Series in 2018.

The Royals acquired Cordero, 26, in a trade with the San Diego Padres last July. He hit .211 with two home runs and seven RBIs in 16 games with the Royals last season. He has a .236 average and 12 homers in 95 career games with the San Diego Padres and Royals.

Lee was selected in the third round by the Royals in the 2016 draft. In 2019 (last season was wiped out by the COVID-19 pandemic), Lee hit .264 with eight home runs, 51 RBIs and 53 stolen bases for Double-A Northwest Arkansas. Lee was listed as the Royals’ eighth best prospect on MLB.com.

Winckowski, 22, was ranked as the No. 20 prospect in the Mets system by Baseball America. He was a 15th round pick by Toronto in 2016.

Jimmy Golen of The Associated Press contributed to this report.