Could this Yankee join the Braves this offseason?

357220902001 NYY TBR

The Yankees have a lot of decisions to make this offseason. Most notably, the new American League home run king is set to break the bank this winter, and several big market teams — like the Giants and Dodgers — have their eyes on him. The Yankees primary focus will be on Judge until he makes his decision, but New York also has several other key pieces set to test free agency, and one, in particular, that could interest the Braves.

I’ve talked in several articles about the Braves situation in left field. Marcell Ozuna‘s days with the Braves are numbered, and Eddie Rosario was among the worst players in the league last season. They must add to the position — enter 28-year-old Andrew Benintendi.

Benintendi was having a career year with the Royals in the final year of his contract, receiving his first All-Star nod. He was traded to the Yankees prior to the deadline but was unfortunately only able to play in 33 games before going down with a wrist injury that ended his season. However, he was apparently close to returning before the Yankees were eliminated from the playoffs, so it’s not an issue that should be a problem next season.

I’m a fan of Benintendi and have written several times about the Braves trading for him when he was with the Royals. It never came to fruition, but perhaps it will this winter. Noah Yingling from Fansided believes it will: 

For the Yankees, they have a few other options to turn to in left field. Next year, they could use Oswaldo Cabrera, Estevan Florial, or another one of their prospects out there. They also could decide to trade for someone or sign someone else to play out there.

A team that could use Benintendi, who will be entering his age-28 season, is the Atlanta Braves. The Braves have Michael Harris II and Ronald Acuña Jr. in center and right field but left field is more of question mark. Marcell Ozuna was not good in 2022 and was primarily a DH. Their other option is Eddie Rosario, who also wasn’t very good and he also was injured for much of the season.

I agree with Yingling’s analysis. The Yankees have much more substantial concerns, and the Braves desperately need to add to sure up their left field situation. Benintendi would also be a nice change of pace to an Atlanta lineup that is so reliant on power. He doesn’t offer a lot of pop, but he hit .320 and got on base at a .387 clip with the Royals before he was traded.

The issue with Benintendi could be the length of his next contract. Several teams will offer him multi-year deals, and that may not be something the Braves are interested in doing, especially if they view top prospect Justyn-Henry Malloy, Vaughn Grissom, or even William Contreras as the future in left field. However, with the Braves in the middle of their championship window, they could be more interested in fixing the problem now rather than waiting for one of their young studs to become an everyday contributor.

Photo: Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire

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