— Jim Bowden (@JimBowdenGM) January 11, 2021
Benintendi is coming off a lost season where he played in only 14 games. He was eventually shutdown for a rib cage injury and subsequentally missed the remainder of the season.
Heading into 2021, Benintendi will be due $6.6 million. While not a huge sum of money, it is an attractive sum for mid-market teams.
The Braves and Marlins have pitching prospects that Boston could be coveting in a potential trade. It is unsure what chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom could net back in a potential trade.
What Could Atlanta Offer?
— Prospects 365 ⚾️ (@Prospects365) July 23, 2019
Kyle Muller to Boston?
The hard-throwing left-hander was added to the Braves 40-man roster prior to the Rule-5 draft in early December. It is expected that Muller could make his debut next season.
The 6-foot-7, 250 pound Dallas native would immediately become one of Boston’s top pitching prospects.
He was drafted back in 2016 in the second round out of Dallas Jesuit College Prep. Most websites that cover Major League Baseball prospects consider Muller to be the Braves second best pitching prospect.
Muller should open the season at Triple-A for the Braves. In 2019, he struck out 120 batters while holding opponents to a .208 average in 22 starts.
Depending on his control he should be a potential starter in the majors. According to Baseball America, they list Muller as a future reliever if he can’t reel in his pitching mechanics. Nevertheless, Boston fans might growl at the idea of trading Benintendi for a future reliever. Despite the growls over the trade, the focus for Boston should be acquiring quality prospects to replenish their system.
It is unlikely that the Braves would trade Muller for Benintendi in a one-for-one swap. If Boston was to acquire the 23-year-old, it would seem likely they would need to take on money. The Red Sox has the ability to add salary this offseason and could do so to get a top prospect in return.
Two names that could make sense for Boston would be reliever Chris Martin who is due $7 million this season or outfielder Ender Inciarte who is due $8.7 million this season and carries a $9 million club option for 2022.
Other potential trade package
The Red Sox could look to acquire a bigger prospect package back in a trade with the Braves. According to Talking Chop, the Braves could send a package of Freddy Tarnok, Greyson Jenista, and Sean Newcomb. The one player that Red Sox fans might recognize in this potential trade is Newcomb. He is a Massachusetts native who grew up a Red Sox fan.
Since coming from the Angels in the Andrelton Simmons trade, he has failed to live up to expectations in Atlanta. Newcomb had a down 2020 season, where he had a dismal 11.20 ERA in four games.
Baseball America ranked Tarnok as the Braves 16th best prospect back in July. The right-hander from Bradenton, Florida was drafted in the third round back in 2017.
He is a converted shortstop that the Braves moved to a pitcher due to his raw talent. The 6-foot-3 righty isn’t expected to crack Triple-A next season, Tarnok should push to Double-A Mississippi. Similar to Muller, he projects more as a reliever but will get the ability to start in the minors.
Jenista was drafted out of Wichita State where during his three years there he had a career .318 average. Baseball America calls the young outfielders bat as polished who hit in pro ball with raw power. He did struggle in his first full season at Double-A Mississippi. Jenista hit .243 in 74 games with five home runs and 26 RBI’s. The Braves No. 22 prospect should expect to be back at Double-A. The Braves will be looking for him ti bounce back at the plate.
Atlanta the best trade partner?
Finally the Red Sox seem ready to be more active in the trade market this winter. Many that cover the Red Sox and fans on social media feel that Benintendi has no trade value. Certainly it could feel that way based off his 2020 season.
Benintendi could benefit from a change of scenery and his affordable contract and potential for a bounce back season holds value for teams.
Should the Braves consider making a move for Benintendi he could play left field and replace Marcel Ozuna. He wouldn’t replace Ozuna’s power bat in the middle of the lineup. Ozuna could DH if that is implemented again while Benintendi is their everyday left fielder.
If Bloom is willing to move him, it appears he is looking for prospects and he’ll replace Benintendi in free agency. Atlanta presents Boston young pitching options as they replenish their system.
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– Chris Henrique (@ChrisHenrique on Twitter)