Long-time Mariner fans know there’s been a black hole in left field since Raul Ibanez manned the position. The revolving door has included Milton Bradley, Rickie Weeks, Nori Aoki, and many more imports. Most recently, Jesse Winker stood out near Edgar’s Cantina and racked up one of the worst defensive seasons (-16 DRS). With Winker possibly on his way out, per MLB Insider J.P. Morosi, it’s time to turn our attention to Andrew Benintendi.
Mariners could look to fill left field with Andrew Benintendi
The former #1 overall prospect has lost the shine, but he is still a valuable player, especially for a club like the Mariners, who value those who “Control the Zone” and play solid defense. Last season, Benintendi finished with a .305/.370/.399 slash line between the Royals and Yankees, amassing 2.8 WAR. The power numbers are concerning, but that’s been his M.O. since 2021 when he emphasized drawing walks and making contact.
As for the defense, the 28-year-old left fielder played over 1,000 innings in 2022, racking up 214 putouts and no errors. For his career, he’s only made 15 miscues in six years of service time. His defensive runs saved is a robust 25 over that time. Consider him as the anti-Winker in this regard.
Projections for the outfielder expect some regression (2.3 WAR) with a decrease in batting average and on-base percentage. However, the STEAMER model thinks he’ll sell out for a little more power next season.
While left field is typically one of the power positions, roster construction and other moves come into play as Jerry Dipoto and Justin Hollander determine where the team will generate extra-base hits. The team could land one of the premier shortstops, adding speed and power up the middle instead of in left field.
The Mariners would value Andrew Benintendi’s CTZ habits and excellent defense more than most teams. Additionally, he was a big piece of some Red Sox playoff teams, including a World Series winner in 2018. That playoff experience would help solidify the clubhouse, especially if Mitch Haniger signs elsewhere.
The Mariners should sign Andrew Benintendi to a 4YR/$53M contract for LF
Offering Benintendi a four-year deal isn’t the splashy move for which most of us check social media 20 times daily. Most fans are looking for the names Nimmo and Yoshida. Still, signing the seven-year veteran could pay big dividends toward improving lineup construction, offensive approach, and postseason experience. These are all things this team needs to take the next step. So, it’s time to start the campaign, “Bring in Benintendi.” That sure sounds catchy! Who’s with me?