January 28, 2023

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Andrew Benintende, White Sox have a deal (sources)

Andrew Benintende, White Sox have a deal (sources)

Chicago — Andrew Benintende The White Sox have agreed to a five-year, $75 million deal, major league sources told MLB.com on Friday. ESPN’s Jesse Rogers was first to report. There was no confirmation from the team.

Benintendi was a former White Sox target, taken seventh overall in the 2015 draft by Boston, who was one pick ahead of Chicago’s selection of right-handed pitcher Carson Fulmer. The 28-year-old’s deal marks the largest guaranteed contract awarded in franchise history, surpassing Yasmani Grandal’s $73 million over four years.

It’s also a deal that makes the White Sox a better team overall going into 2023. They were poor defensively during a disappointing 81-81 showing in ’22, not to mention a dominant right-hander throughout their lineup. Left-hander Benintendi, who won the Gold Glove in ’21, is improving the team in both areas.

Eloy Jiménez has seen most of his time in designated hitting, having made 50 starts in that spot last season. Andrew Vaughn, who was recruited as a first baseman, would move from the outfield to first base with the departure of Jose Abreu to Houston via free agency. The White Sox would simply be better off with players starting in their natural defensive positions, as stated several times by General Manager Rick Hahn during this season.

More stops with the Royals (93 games, 390 plate appearances) and Yankees (33 games, 131 plate appearances), Benintende slashed .304/.373/.399 with five home runs, 51 RBIs, eight stolen bases and 54 runs scored in 2022. He was A 22-year-old American League star with connections to current White Sox manager Pedro Grifoll and major league fielding coordinator Mike Tosar, who served as the Royals bench coach and special hitting coach, respectively, last season.

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The White Sox weren’t expected to spend much in this offseason, with 10 players already on multi-year deals, and Hahn talked about the prospect of a trade route being more likely at general managers’ meetings in Las Vegas. So far, Chicago has added right starter Mike Clevinger and Benintende through free agency.

Second base remains an open spot for the White Sox, although they have inside options via Lenyn Sosa, Romy Gonzalez, and Leury Garcia, as Garcia is seen as a useful component rather than an everyday player. Chicago could also add in the capture zone, with Grandal’s deal entering its final year in 2023 and Sepe Zavala and Carlos Perez also in the picture.