As rookie outfielder Andrew Benintendi prepares for spring training with the Boston Red Sox, he recalls a brief moment when he thought he could be traded.
Boston Red Sox position players aren’t expected to officially report to camp until later this week, but Andrew Benintendi arrived early on Monday.
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The rookie enters spring training for the first time in his career knowing that he’s expected to open the season with the big league team, but there was a brief moment of uncertainty this winter that left him wondering if he’d still be with the organization by this point.
Speaking with reporters at JetBlue Park on Monday, Benintendi recalled eating at a Subway in St. Louis with an old college teammate when news broke that the Red Sox were on the verge of acquiring Chris Sale from the Chicago White Sox. The 22-year old was excited to learn that his team was adding one of the league’s best pitchers, but he was also left to wonder if he would be shipped out as part of the deal.
Text messages and calls came flooding in from those wanting to know if he was being traded, but Benintendi had no answers for them. Then he received a text from his agent that said “You’re either going to go or not in the next two minutes.”
Can you even imagine what those next two minutes were like? Benintendi brushed it off as no big deal, but even a player with his laid back personality must have felt a pit in his stomach. If the rookie had any concerns about uprooting his life, he’s not showing it now, but he does seem excited to remain in Boston.
“I was just like, ‘Well, there’s not much I can do.’ After that two minutes was up, I saw everything on Twitter. People were texting me. Obviously, it was a big move for both sides,” Benintendi told reporters, per WEEI’s John Tomase. “I’m excited he’s on our side and I’m not facing him.”
Once the deal with Chicago was finalized, it turned out that Yoan Moncada was the one headlining the package. The Red Sox managed to hang on to Benintendi, which appears to have been a wise choice given that he edged out Moncada for the top spot in Baseball America’s Top 100 prospect rankings.
Still, we can’t help but wonder how close the team was to giving up Benintendi. Dave Dombrowski recently told the Boston Globe’s Peter Abraham that “Andrew is not a player you’re ever looking to trade.” If that’s true, why was Benintendi’s agent under the impression it could happen two minutes before the deal was completed?
Dombrowski also admitted that no player is truly untouchable. He may not have wanted to part with him, but if Chicago insisted on Benintendi being included, would Dombrowski have reluctantly signed off on it or would that be a deal-breaker? He claims he never came close to trading the young left fielder, but Benintendi’s agent warning him it could happen suggests that he was aware the Red Sox were at least considering it.
Regardless of if Benintendi was ever on the table during these discussions, Dombrowski ultimately decided to keep him. All that matters now is that he’s here in camp sporting the same Red Sox uniform that Sale now wears.