The Seattle Mariners are said to be looking for a left-handed bat this off-season. Ideally, they’d like that bat to play in either the outfield or second base. And it wouldn’t be the worse thing in the world if this bat carried some solid upside.
Andrew Benintendi checks all of these boxes and he just so happens to be available. In fact, most assume the Red Sox will trade their former first-round pick before the weekend is up. But despite some obvious pros to acquiring the former Arkansas Razorback, there are some issues that prevent Seattle from getting involved in this market.
First and foremost, Benintendi is coming off an awful 2020 season and his 2019 didn’t inspire much hope. You see, Benintendi has a great OBP guy who offers decent batting average, but lacks traditional home run power associated with corner outfield bats, despite playing in a hitter-friendly division. He’s also a dreadful defender in left field, something that doesn’t bode well for Seattle.
Benintendi is just 26-years-old and has shown to be at least an above-average bat. He’ll have just 2 years of club control remaining and is set to earn roughly $6 million in 2021. The Mariners, or perhaps more specifically John Stanton, haven’t shown much inclination to add payroll this winter and until they do, it’s fair to wonder if this salary will be cost-prohibitive.
Benintendi’s skill set at the plate is intriguing, the Mariners are looking for a stop-gap option until top prospect Jarred Kelenic is magically deemed big-league ready roughly three weeks after Opening Day. After that, this player would slide into the 4th outfielder role. This player is easier to find in free agency and can likely be had for less than $6 million and won’t cost Jerry Dipoto any assets from their farm system to acquire Benintendi.
Unless Benintendi comes cheap, Seattle could get similar production from the likes of Jake Fraley if he maxes out (highly unlikely) or can likely bring in a bat, like Nomar Mazara for a couple million dollars. Reports indicate the Red Sox could be looking for MLB ready or experienced starting pitching in a trade package, giving the Mariners few options aside from Justin Dunn or Nick Margevicius, and trading five years of those arms for two years of Benintendi isn’t all that appealing.
So would Benintendi be a nice addition for the Mariners? Sure. But should they trade from a weakness to address another weakness? Probably not. There are some prospect laden deals that could make sense, but it appears that Boston wants the MLB arms Seattle simply cannot afford to part with for two-years of a slightly above-average bat.