Prepare yourself to look at the strange young career of Andrew Benintendi. Drafted 7th overall in 2015, Benintendi made his debut the very next season for the playoff Red Sox. Quickly establishing himself as the everyday left fielder, Benintendi finished second in the American League Rookie of the Year voting in 2017 and hit .290 with 87 RBI in 2018.
Injuries took much of his season in 2020, but 2019 was a difficult year for Benintendi as well. The entire Red Sox team struggled, and Benintendi posted career lows in every batting stat, while also striking out more often. Either the Red Sox succeeded because of Benintendi, or Benintendi struggled as the surrounding players in Boston got older and worse.
The only thing I’m sure about is that Benintendi is due for a rebound. Only 26 years old, it could be that the former top prospect simply needs a change of scenery. Boston can be a tough place to play, and it must have gotten tougher as they have started a rebuild. Maybe a trade to St. Louis, where Benintendi has some connections, might be just the thing he needs.
The Cardinals might not want to pay all of Benintendi’s contract– he is arbitration-eligible for the last time in 2022 before free agency in 2023. In addition, the Red Sox will surely demand a lot for one of their top players. The fit, however, is pretty great. Slotting Benintendi’s left-handed bat into the lineup and top-notch defense into left field would be a huge improvement for the Cardinals. If I’m John Mozeliak and looking to acquire young talent, this would be the first player I call about this offseason.