The Toronto Blue Jays have seen their offense struggle and trading for Benintendi could add more consistency…from the left side of the plate
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The Toronto Blue Jays went on an 8 game winning streak because their bats came back to life. Before that, they were struggling mightily. There was lots of speculation about what the answer was. Some wanted a trade, some wanted a call up, some even wanted coaches to lose their jobs. But, that is the nature of baseball, the streaks, I mean. Wanting someone to lose their job is another story. But, teams will go through peaks and valleys in a 162 game season. The ones left standing at the end were better able to navigate those valleys quickly and effectively. This is where Andrew Benintendi could help the Blue Jays.
In order to survive a full season, bench players become very important. The argument could be made that the best teams have the best benches. Of course, they also have very good regulars, too. The Toronto Blue Jays are almost in that category. Over the last month or so, we’ve seen (too) many at bats go to guys like Raimel Tapia and Bradley Zimmer. Tapia’s very recent stretch notwithstanding, their role on the team should not include long stretches of time, which allows for them to be exposed. Short stretches, or defensive substitutions is why they’re here. If they’re going to stay, there has to be a limit to their usage.
However, injuries, etc make that a difficult ask. It is for that reason that Benintendi may make sense for Toronto. In a recent piece at Fangraphs, Dan Szymborski wrote that Benintendi could be on the move. As Szymborski notes, even though it is still early in the whole ‘Hot Stove’ season, and things can change drastically, we have seen clubs make moves earlier in the season. Off the top, the 2021 Atlanta team comes to mind as an example. So, it isn’t out of the realm of possibility that Toronto could look to get a jump on things.
In fact, they may want to do just that. Rather than wait and see how the trade market takes shape, they should lead the way. Benintendi is surprising many with his 2022 showing and more and more teams could start to pick up the phone. It feels like we’ve been hearing his name forever, but at just 27 yrs of age, there is far less worry about decline, etc. If we add to that the fact that he is a free agent in 2023, decline or whatever other risk might be holding a club back is hardly even worth mentioning.
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The former Boston Red Sox outfielder is putting up numbers resembling his 5 fWAR 2018 season: .335/ .399/ .432, 2 HR, 144 wRC+. He hasn’t stolen a base yet this year, but has had multiple 20+ SB seasons. He is also a recipient of a Gold Glove in 2021. I do not mean to paint a picture of a potential MVP candidate, here. Instead, I am pointing out that there is plus value to be had in Benintendi. Now, he is outperforming his expected stats by a slight margin, so we may see some regression from his 144 wRC+, but even if that happens, I’m not convinced it would do so enough to think there is prohibitive risk involved.
I should note that this idea is bound to get me copious amounts of ribbing from all of my Red Sox fan friends, since I have been saying for years that Benintendi is overrated. And, because I’ve said it so often, for so long, I am not actually sure of the extent to which I believed that. Regardless, here I am advocating that the Blue Jays bring in a former rival to take them to the Promised Land. What have I become?
Moving on, the addition of Benintendi would benefit the Blue Jays for a number of reasons. He would be the consistent lefty bat they’ve been looking for. He’s not Jose Ramirez or Freddie Freeman, but he very well could be the answer…a far less expensive one. As well, Benintendi plays solid defense in left field. Giving guys days off, etc becomes far easier to do when you can slot Benny in left and use the DH spot for Lourdes Gurriel Jr.or Teoscar Hernandez. On days when George Springer is DHing, we’ve seen the Blue Jays use Teo in CF. Even if they don’t want to do that, bringing in Benny allows Toronto to use one of Zimmer or Tapia in the role they are perfect for: short stints or defensive replacements.
I’m sure you’re convinced you by now, so the only question becomes how quickly do they get this done? Do they wait to see if Benny starts to regress, bringing his asking price down? If they do, they risk entering the Trade Deadline and a potential bidding war as well as the market being set for them. That doesn’t even mention the fact that, as a pending free agent, they’d be trading for only a couple months of his service. Because of this and everything laid out above, the sooner Toronto trades for Andrew Benintendi, the better.
*Featured Images Courtesy Of DaveMe Images. Prints Available For Purchase.
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Shaun Doyle is a long time Blue Jays fan and writer! He decided to put those things together and create Jays From the Couch. Shaun is the host of Jays From the Couch Radio, which is highly ranked in iTunes, and he has appeared on TV and radio spots.