Cincinnati Reds fan Andrew Benintendi should come home

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 09: Andrew Benintendi
BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 09: Andrew Benintendi /

The Cincinnati Reds have a young core

The Cincinnati Reds are a rebuilding team with a plethora of young players on the cusp of the MLB. Also, the club is one that has been overhauled in the player development department. They have come a long way in a couple years, as the franchise went from a mediocre farm system to one of the best. Furthermore, the Reds have taken strides to augment the incoming youth, such as trying for Shohei Ohtani.

Cincinnati has shown that they are prepared to contend in the near future, although it may not do so right now. So down the line, the Reds should have some money to spend considering the only long-term commitment is Joey Votto. In 2018, the estimated payroll is $68,776,785. Don’t be surprised if they are a player in the free agent market in the coming years.

With that said, how about Andrew Benintendi? Although he is playing in Boston and could be extended in a year or two, the outfielder is an Ohio kid.

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Benintendi had a nice reception when playing against Cincinnati Reds

Andrew Benintendi is a good young player. He plays left field at Fenway which isn’t an easy position to play. The Arkansas product has a smooth swing through the zone and has pop in his bat. The 23-year-old also won the 2015 College Player of the Year. That year, the slugger’s slash line was .376/.488/.717.

He is a guy that can frequently make contact and also hit the ball out of the ballpark. Just imagine what he could do at Great American Ballpark. In 2017, the left fielder clubbed 20 home runs. His return to Cincy had over 1,000 supporters that went to see him that night on September 22nd. Benintendi received a warm welcome in his first trip back to Cincinnati.

Here is what he said pregame: “I probably got down here four-five times a year and would sit in the Diamond seats,” Benintendi said. “I remember watching the guys play and picturing myself out there. It’s crazy that I’m here now.”

“I just remember sitting in those stands and seeing some guys that were massive. Guys like Adam Dunn. I remember the bigger Upton brother was here playing, and I was thinking, ‘God, these guys are huge.’ I was 5-foot-6, 115 [pounds] at the time. That’s probably what I remember the most.”

So, he would be a great get for a team that will be in the playoff hunt. Also, the Ohio kid will become a free agent in 2023. That seems like a long time from now, but by then the Reds will have plenty of guys that have asserted themselves in the MLB.

The Cincinnati Reds possible cost

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In free agency, Benintendi will most likely pass on a home town discount. So, he will want to make the most out of it and explore his options. This year alone, the left fielder was worth $17.9 million. But, he is still growing and could gain more power as well as speed. His arm is already pretty good, and that could be improved too.

By then, he will be 28 and will be going into his prime. It wouldn’t surprise me if he gets upwards of $25-30 million per year. That seems like a ton of cash, but watch what Bryce Harper and Manny Machado get next year.

Also, David Price hasn’t done much for the BoSox and he’s still due almost $200 million.

A 6-8 year deal will be the most likely length of time. The Reds gave Joey Votto a huge deal through his decline. By the end of Benintendi’s possible deal, he will only be 34-36. So, the outfielder still could be a threat with the bat, and decent in the field.

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Benintendi could be extended by the Red Sox down the line. But if he chooses to explore free agency, the Reds could become major players. They are his hometown, the team has plenty of talent in prime, and should have money to spend. The BoSox probably won’t be in that position come the end of 2023.