Left field is something of a question mark for the Astros, but the team could be looking to fill the job with a former Gold Glover. Houston has had some discussions with the free agent Andres Benintendireports Bob Nightengale of USA Today.
With Jose Abreu already acquired and rafael montero he re-signed, adding that Benintendi would be the Astros’ last step in strengthening their roster for another World Series bid. It was already known that the team was looking for a left-handed corner outfielder, to add a little more balance to a mostly right-handed lineup and to provide more security in left field. If an everyday player like Benintendi were signed, jake meyers I’d probably split the time with chas mccormick in center field, while Yordan Alvarez he could see the occasional game in left field, but would continue to work primarily as a designated hitter.
Benintendi wouldn’t be cheap, as MLBTR projects the 28-year-old will land a four-year, $54 million contract. This price point factors in Benintendi’s relatively young age when he enters the free agent market, as well as a skill set that makes him a pretty safe bet to be a productive player (if not necessarily a star) in the future.
Being “just” a productive player seems like a respectable middle ground for Benintendi, who seemed like a potential superstar early in his career with the Red Sox but then almost a lost cause in the wake of a brutal 2020 season. Benintendi rebounded with showings. solid with the Royals and Yankees the past two seasons, moving to New York at the trade deadline before his season ended with hamate surgery in early September.
This isn’t to say that Bentenindi doesn’t still have another break ahead of him, especially if he can reverse his drastic drop in power in 2022. Even without much pop, Benintendi still had a 122 wRC+ and .304/.373/. .399 slash line in 521 plate appearances last season. A .352 BABIP helped that production, but Benintendi did an excellent job drawing walks, avoiding strikeouts and putting the ball in play. Combining that offensive profile with above-average defense and solid base running saw Benintendi post a 2.8 fWAR season in 2022, the second-highest total fWAR of his seven MLB seasons.
The Astros have just under $198 million in luxury tax commitments for 2023, so if Benintendi signed anything in the range of that $13.5 million projected average annual value, Houston would still have plenty of room under the tax threshold. of $233 million to make more moves. . Owner Jim Crane recently said that the Astros “certainly has the ability to go on or more” the threshold, and spending on multiple players (Abreu, and perhaps at least one from Benintendi or willson contreras) might be a more preferable strategy than splurging on a short-term deal and high AAV in justin verlander.