KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Royals acquired outfielder Andrew Benintendi from the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday in a three-team trade, which included the New York Mets.
Benintendi, the No. 7 overall pick in the 2015 MLB First-Year Player Draft, comes to Kansas City along with cash in exchange for outfielder Franchy Cordero and two players to be named. The Mets also receive Royals prospect Khalil Lee as part of the deal.
“I got a call last night from (Red Sox Chiefs Baseball Officer) Chaim Bloom and he said there’s a good chance you’re going to get traded tonight,” Benintendi said. “I find out it’s the Royals and I’m extremely excited. I’m from the Midwest going to a Midwest team, so I’m excited.”
Benintendi, 26, who projects as Alex Gordon's replacement as the starting left fielder, said he got his first taste of the Royals' fanbase during his college career at the University of Arkansas.
“Kansas City, honestly, was one of my favorite cities to visit with the barbecue there down on the Plaza,” he said.
Benintendi, who was limited to 14 games with a rib-cage strain during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, said he's eager to start making connections with the team, including talking with Whit Merrifield after the trade.
“I feel like there is a sense of pride for me now,” Benintendi said. “I want to perform well, obviously. I want to go show them that it was worth the trade and I want to play well for the fans and the organization. I’m excited and it’s nice to be wanted.”
Benintendi, a Cincinnati native, finished second in the AL Rookie of the Year voting in 2017. He has a career slash line of .273/.353/.435 and his penchant for drawing walks should help the Royals' team on-base percentage improve dramatically, especially coupled with the addition of first baseman Carlos Santana.
From 2017-19, benintendi averaged more than 35 doubles, 16 home runs and 81 RBIs with 17 stolen bases per season.
The Royals report to Spring Training next week. Pitchers and catchers workouts begin on Feb. 17 and full-squad workouts start on Feb. 22.