Boston to Atlanta via KC
Andrew Benintendi was the seventh overall pick in the 2015 draft and projected as a perennial All-Star for the Sox. From 2016-2019 he batted .277/.354/.442/.796 with 51 homers, a .341 wOBA and 109 wRC+.
Something happened in 2019, and this perennially good corner outfielder was just average in 2019. As the Sox dismantled their team, he fell out of favor, and the Royals acquired him for Franchy Cordero and not much else, though they still owe Boston two players. Since arriving in KC, Benintendi’s batting .388/.347/.384/.731 with four homers, a .324 wOBA, and 106 wRC+.
I think Benintendi is due to a bounce-back season. His scouting numbers when drafted were as good as Waters though he wasn’t as fast. I don’t know whether the Royals would flip him for pitching, but I’d certainly ask.
Atlanta Braves’ less expensive options
Gregory Polanco batted .255/.324/.455/.779 and hit 56 homers for the Pirates from 2016 through 2018. He missed most of 2019 after a shoulder injury and, like many, struggled in 2020. He’s batting .221/.296/.386/.672 with five homers.
If he can find his power stroke – and a move out of Pittsburgh might help – he’d be a useful addition and a solid defender in left. In the final guaranteed year of his contract, Polanco earns the remainder of $11.6M; the contract has two option years at $12.5M and $13.5M.
Tiger left fielder Robbie Grossman is a 31-year old switch-hitter who’s been a fourth-outfielder most of his career with Minnesota and Oakland.
He signed a two-year, $10M deal with Detroit this year, and playing regularly this season, is batting .241/.362/.406 with six homers, 117 wRC+, and a .339 wOBA.
Neither team has a reason to hold on to either player for the long term, and offered a good return, would likely trade them with pitching and catching at the top of the list.
That’s a wrap
We’ll know soon whether the Atlanta Braves front office believes enough in the team to step up and add even though it will cost more than money.
The Ozuna situation was a gut punch, even though he wasn’t hitting like we know he can. How the team reacts will tell us a lot about the future.