Sources: Benintendi joins ChiSox in $75 million deal

Outfielder Andrew Benintendi and the Chicago White Sox agreed on a five-year, $75 million contract on Friday, sources tell ESPN, linking one of the game’s top hitters with a team whose contact-oriented approach is one of its offensive hallmarks.

304/.373/.399 this year in time with the Kansas City Royals and New York Yankees, who got it in a deadline trade. A Gold Glove-winning left fielder, Benintendi posted the ninth best batting average in Major League Baseball in 2022 and a top 25 striking percentage.

The $75 million guarantee is the largest free agent contract in White Sox history. That beats the $73 million awarded to catcher Yasmani Grandal on a four-year contract that expires after the 2023 season.

The White Sox, whose disappointing 2022 was beset by injuries and setbacks, finished 19th in MLB in runs scored and lost their best offensive player, first baseman Jose Abreu, via free agency to the Houston Astros. Left winger Andrew Vaughn is expected to move to first base, freeing up space for Benintendi to join midfielder Luis Robert, one of the White Sox base players.

Chicago’s offensive flair, with Benintendi, Robert, shortstop Tim Anderson, designated hitter Eloy Jimenez and third baseman Yoan Moncada, runs deep enough for the White Sox to dream of better performances than their 81-81 season in 2022. Manager Tony La Russa stepped away after the season ended, and new manager Pedro Grifol took over as coach at Kansas City, where Benintendi spent a season and a half after five years in Boston.

He won the World Series with the Red Sox in 2018, making a sliding final catch in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series that helped Boston beat Houston. The Red Sox took Benintendi with the seventh overall pick in the 2015 draft – one pick before the White Sox – and he made his debut the following season. In 2017, he established himself as an aspiring star of the future, hitting 20 home runs, stealing 20 bases, and hitting base more than 35% of the time.

351 career on-base percentage, Benintendi could find himself atop the White Sox ranks, perhaps at the No. 1 hole. 2, behind Anderson. In 745 career games, he has hit . 279/. 351/. 431 with 73 home runs, 384 RBI, and 69 stolen bases.

The deal is expected to push White Sox wages by more than $200 million for the second straight season.

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