It took some time, but White Sox finally get Benintendi on roster

The 2015 draft was a disaster for the White Sox.

Holding the No. 8 overall pick, they were preparing to select outfielder Andrew Benintendi out of Arkansas.

The Red Sox had the No. 7 pick and they grabbed Benintendi.

The White Sox wound up drafting Vanderbilt starting pitcher Carson Fulmer, a regrettable decision.

It took some time to right the wrong, but the White Sox finally got Benintendi.

On Tuesday, they officially signed the left-handed-hitting left fielder to the most lucrative contract in franchise history - $75 million over five years.

"Let me just start by saying how thrilled we are to add Andrew to the organization," Sox general manager Rick Hahn said Tuesday night. "I actually joked with him when we did a Zoom call as part of the getting-to-know-you process back in November that I've waited over seven and a half years to officially welcome him to the organization, given how highly we regarded him when he was at the University of Arkansas.

"So better late than never, as Andrew certainly fits many of the things we were looking for this off-season in terms of balancing out our lineup and adding a different type of hitter. Obviously a dynamic player who's earned accolades not just for his offense but for his defense as well. We think he makes us a better, well-rounded ballclub both offensively and defensively. Thrilled we were able to convert on this one."

The 28-year-old Benintendi will be formally introduced Wednesday morning at Guaranteed Rate Field.

Benintendi started last season with the Royals and was traded to the Yankees on July 27 for three prospects.

After hitting .320/.387/.398 with 3 home runs and 39 RBI in 93 games for Kansas City, Benintendi slashed .254/.331/.404 with 2 homers and 12 RBI in 33 games with New York.

His .304 combined batting average ranked sixth in the American League. Benintendi made his first All-Star Game appearance last season and he won a Gold Glove in 2021.

"His profile both offensively and defensively we thought were great compliments to what we already had and how we projected to break the season come Opening Day," Hahn said. "A guy who, obviously not just left-handed, but gives you a tough at-bat, can grind it out, put up solid on-base numbers toward the top of the lineup and as well as improve ourselves from an outfield defense standpoint.

"He really fit in a lot of different ways that we were looking to improve ourselves."

Eloy Jimenez was the White Sox's left fielder the past four seasons, but he's a near lock to be the full-time designated hitter with Benintendi on board.

"That's a better question for the manager (Pedro Grifol) about how he's going to deploy the roster," Hahn said. "I still expect Eloy to be available and play some outfield. The positive, if you want to take some positive development out of his limited availability last year, was that Eloy showed he could thrive in the DH spot offensively when that was his primary spot.

"A lot of players we've seen over time take a period of time to adjust to that role, and Eloy certainly showed he was able to produce as a primary DH. That said, I still think there will be some opportunities along the way for him to play in the outfield."

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