Why Andrew Benintendi isn’t an ideal outfield target

New York Yankees v Tampa Bay Rays
New York Yankees v Tampa Bay Rays / Julio Aguilar/GettyImages

Look at those New York Mets. After signing Justin Verlander on Monday to help kick off the excitement of the MLB Winter Meetings, the team is now looking for some Brandon Nimmo alternatives. Included in the latest Mets rumors is their reported interest in free agent outfielder Andrew Benintendi.

Benintendi is a nice player who brings a lot to the table. Many teams will find him to be a great fit for them in left field. In the Mets lineup, he’s not an ideal fit.

Mets rumors: Andrew Benintendi is not the outfielder to target

Why doesn’t Benintendi, a lifetime .279/.351/.431 hitter, match well with the Mets? His performance last season was much different from what we have seen in the past. Benintendi slashed .304/.373/.399 with the Kansas City Royals and New York Yankees. It’s that last number, a .399 slugging percentage, which makes him a much less desirable target.

Benintendi hit only 5 home runs in 521 plate appearances last season. He has averaged 16 per 162 games in his career which actually lines up well with what they’ve gotten from Nimmo over the years. Benintendi could certainly see a boost in his power numbers more closely matching what he did prior to 2022. On the Mets, while calling Citi Field home, we shouldn’t suspect the power to increase. The Mets play at a pitcher’s ballpark. Benintendi’s numbers aren’t going to jump up.

These Mets rumors linking them to Benintendi raise another concern. Losing out on Nimmo means Starling Marte moves to center field. Benintendi would give the Mets some steady defense in left field. Mark Canha would probably move over to right field. This isn’t a great alignment outside of the newcomer. It’s acceptable. It’s just missing something.

Power is the one thing we would have all liked to see more from the Mets outfielders last year. The Canha/Nimmo/Marte threesome was one of the best in the sport in terms of defense and offense. At no moment did we ever have a really good feeling they’d go yard.

If the Mets are going to seek out an outfield alternative from Nimmo, Benintendi isn’t the guy to go for. Someone with more pop who can crush lefties is what they could never find. 

Balance is something the Mets should be looking for this winter. Benintendi is more of the same. He’s a good fielder, top OBP guy, and someone who occasionally runs into a home run. The Mets replaced Jacob deGrom with Justin Verlander. Do they make another semi-lateral move replacing Nimmo with Benintendi? 

There’s a cliché about doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result that we need to look at.

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