The White Sox have gotten their outfielder.
Benintendi, who is 28 years old, is coming off his first all-star season in 2022. Across 126 games with the Royals and Yankees, the left-handed outfielder hit .304/.373/.399 with a .772 OPS and 122 wRC+. He is expected to become the everyday left fielder for the White Sox, as Eloy Jimenez will become the primary designated hitter. Given his on-base skills, Benintendi might hit behind Tim Anderson as the second hitter in the batting order, but he could make sense in a number of different spots.
Benintendi has had a stellar career to date with the Red Sox, Royals, and Yankees. He has been worth 13.1 fWAR in 745 games, and his lifetime on-base percentage of .351 is his primary strength on offense. While his career OPS is 99 points higher against right-handed pitchers (.808) compared with left-handed pitchers (.709), he still maintains an above-average .334 on-base percentage against left-handed pitchers, so he is not a prototypical left-handed platoon player.
While Benintendi only hit five home runs in 2022 and registered a career-low .095 ISO and .399 SLG, he still notched a career-high on-base percentage (.373). Moreover, it is worth mentioning that in 2021, Benintendi hit 17 home runs, and according to Baseball Savant, had Benintendi played all of his 2021 games at Guaranteed Rate Field, he would have hit 29 home runs. The White Sox in particular, then, might be a good fit for Benintendi’s contact profile when it comes to turning some of his deeper fly balls into home runs.
Even if Benintendi does not hit for more power, his on-base skills would be useful in a lineup that recently lost José Abreu, who himself became an on-base machine in 2022. Of course, Benintendi does not offer what Abreu can in terms of overall offensive output, but he is seven years younger and plays left field, a position of need.
Defensive metrics have typically been split on Benintendi’s defense. By reputation, he is a plus defender, and he did win a gold glove award for the Royals in 2021. Popular metrics such as defensive runs saved, ultimate zone rating, and outs above average all have Benintendi as around an average to slightly-above-average defender, particularly in 2021 and 2022. While Benintendi is not known for having a plus throwing arm, he is at worst an adequate defensive left fielder. Suddenly, a defensive outfield of Benintendi, Luis Robert, and Oscar Colas might actually be a strength for the White Sox.
The White Sox have addressed their biggest hole, and now perhaps the only major unanswered question of the offseason revolves around the open spot at second base.
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