The Boston Red Sox, Kansas City Royals and New York Mets completed a three-way trade late Wednesday night. The Red Sox are sending outfielder Andrew Benintendi to the Royals in exchange for outfielder Franchy Cordero and two PTBNLs. Meanwhile, the Mets will be sending and a PTBNL and pitching prospect Josh Winckowski to the Red Sox for Royals outfield prospect Khalil Lee.
Jeff Passan over at ESPN first reported the complete trade details.
The three-way trade is done, sources tell ESPN.
Royals get: OF Andrew Benintendi
Mets get: OF Khalil Lee
Red Sox get: OF Franchy Cordero, RHP Josh Winckowski, two PTBNLs from Kansas City, one PTBNL from New York
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) February 11, 2021
Benintendi’s name had come up all winter in trade talks. With the Red Sox looking to further shed some payroll and build up the farm, the roughly $6.6 million remaining on the struggling lefty’s contract was the final straw. Coming off the worst season of his career, Benintendi hit just .103/.314/.128 with a 27 OPS+ in 2020. This came out to only four hits in 39 at bats before going down with a rib injury for the rest of the season.
Obviously, the Royals are hoping 2020 was just a fluke for the 26-year-old. From 2016-19, Benintendi was great, slashing .277/.354/.442 with a 109 OPS+. His defense is also solid, albeit only in left field. While his 22 DRS in left is excellent, his -12 DRS in center should give the Royals pause if they ever try to use him there.
As for what the Royals gave up, there isn’t much to say about Cordero. In three years with the San Diego Padres and one in Kansas City, he has struggled to stay in the majors. In just 95 games in four years, he owns a .236/.304/.433 slash line and 99 OPS+. Basically, he’s about as average a hitter as any major leaguer can be. His defense doesn’t pick up any slack either, with -16 DRS in the outfield. Still, Cordero is only 26. While the Red Sox likely aren’t expecting him to be anymore than a cheap bridge player until the team is ready to compete again, there is a chance the change of scenery can help him breakout in some way.
Prospect for a Prospect
Lastly, the Mets are the smallest part of this trade. Winckowski was one of the players the team acquired back in January when they shipped Steven Matz off to the Toronto Blue Jays. The 22-year-old was the 26th ranked prospect for the Mets and has so far topped out in High A Ball. In 54 career minor league games, he owns a 3.35 ERA, mostly as a starter. Winckowski’s biggest selling point remains his 97-mph fastball, something that can potentially get even faster. It’s likely the Royals will convert him into a reliever.
Lee has the potential to make an immediate impact on the Mets. Slotting in as their 7th ranked prospect, Lee is the best of only three outfield prospects the Mets have in their top 30. Across four minor league levels, Lee owns a .256/.363/.372 slash line and 99 steals. While he won’t be much of a power threat without some adjustments, his uncanny ability to draw walks and constantly get on base project to make him a great leadoff man. This is in spite of his high strikeout rate (28.2%), something that will need to be addressed sooner rather than later. Lee also has a great arm which, combined with his speed, makes him an above average defender in center field and right. The 22-year-old will likely start the season at AAA, but signs point to a potential late-season callup being in the cards.
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