Contact between Andrew Benintendi and the Chicago White Sox started on the primary day of free company.
The correspondence ended with the All-Star shortstop and the Sox agreeing to a five-year, $75 million contract.
“All through the entire course of, there was fixed curiosity,” Benintendi stated throughout his introductory information convention on the assured price subject on Wednesday. “It is good to be right here with a staff that wished me from day one.”
The Benintendi deal. first reported on December 16 — the largest in staff historical past.
“The best way I method it, it would not matter what the (contract) quantity is, it is about successful video games,” he stated. “It is about enjoying laborious. No person actually cares (in regards to the contract) if you happen to do not win video games. In the long run, it is all about successful and being a very good teammate.”
He joins a staff trying to bounce again after going 81-81 final season and lacking the playoffs.
“The very first thing that stands out about that staff is the enjoying lineup,” Benintendi stated. “Robust arms within the bullpen, robust begins. And it is only a bonus on the opposite aspect as effectively. The expertise on the plate, the fellows at bats, the velocity, the facility.
“I am excited to be part of it, watching from afar the final two years, to be part of that lineup, this staff, I am excited to make it occur.”
Benintendi, 28, has a .279/.351/.431 slash line with 169 doubles, 73 residence runs and 384 RBI in 745 video games with the Boston Purple Sox (2016-20), Kansas Metropolis Royals (2021-22). New York Yankees (2022).
Benintendi has a bond with a few of his new teammates, together with enjoying with reliever Joe Kelly whereas in Boston. Benintendi additionally has hyperlinks with supervisor Pedro Grifol, who was the bench coach when Benintendi performed for the Royals.
“He is a really versatile participant so far as we hit him within the lineup,” Grifol stated. “He did all the things within the sport. he hits for common, hits for energy, runs the bases effectively. He matches very well with what we’re making an attempt to do right here.
“He is an incredible match at this ball membership, he is an incredible match at this park. He is precisely what we have been on the lookout for.”
That reference to Grifol performed a task in his signing.
“Being with him the final two years in Kansas Metropolis, the way in which he went about his day, his routine, the early work and preparation, it was one thing particular for me once I was in Kansas Metropolis,” Benintendi stated. “It is easy to joke with him. It has been a very good relationship and searching ahead to the subsequent 5 years, it may be even higher.”
Benintendi slashed .304/.373/.399 with 23 doubles, 5 residence runs and 51 RBI in 126 video games with the Royals and Yankees in 2022 and was named a first-time All-Star.
He hit a minimum of 15 residence runs in a season thrice, together with a career-high 20 in 2017. He had 17 homers in 2021. Final season’s .304 common was a profession excessive, good for sixth within the AL.
Requested if he want to add extra confusion together with contact, Benintendi stated: “Oh sure, everybody would love that.
“However for me, enjoying at Kauffman Stadium in 2021, I used to be fairly disillusioned proper off the bat. We used to joke about it on a regular basis, these lengthy flights. I am not the largest man (5-foot-9, 180), it may take all the things to hit a ball from that stadium. So going into final 12 months I used to be like let’s simply hit the next common and the next base and hopefully this works or I’ll be in a world of bother. I attempt to be a whole hitter.
“Enjoying on this stadium, a variety of these lengthy fly balls are going to show into doubles and residential runs with out even making an attempt to alter something. Regardless of the staff wants me to be, no matter participant they want, that is what I will attempt to be.”
Benintendi additionally offers the Sox safety in left subject. he received the Gold Glove Award in 2021. In line with FanGraphs, Benintendi leads all main league left fielders with 31 defensive runs saved since 2017.
“That is one thing you do not admire while you’re younger,” Benintendi stated of his protection. “You go on the market simply worrying about your at-bats and generally you are taking your at-bats to left subject or wherever you are enjoying, however for me it is one thing I’ve owned extra of and I am extra happy with.
“Operating higher routes, leaping sooner is what I have been specializing in the final two years, particularly enjoying on the larger subject at Kauffman, in order that was one thing I used to be happy with…. It is one thing I will proceed to work on.”
Grifol talked to Eloy Jimenez, who will transfer from left subject to designated hitter. Jimenez had success as a DH final season, slashing .274/.343/.500 with 11 homers and 35 RBIs in 50 video games within the position.
“(Benintendi) comes right here to play left subject, he is accomplished that his complete profession and he is clearly superb at it,” Grifol stated. “I’ve talked to Elo, I’ve advised him to maintain working within the subject and dealing in proper subject. … And in true skilled style, Eloy represents what’s greatest for this ballclub and what helps us win.”
Grifol is wanting ahead to assembly Benintendi, describing him as a “quiet chief. Performs the sport laborious, respects the sport, and he’ll be a hell of a teammate.”
It is a new staff and a brand new package for Benintendi, who laughed when requested if the quantity 23 had any significance.
“It isn’t what you assume,” he stated. “I am a Michael Jordan fan rising up. However the staple numbers I normally prefer to put on have all been taken or retired. And this offered itself and I believed ‘Why not?’ My sister, her senior 12 months, was 32, so I can flip that in her favor.
“It is an incredible quantity, a symbolic quantity on this metropolis. I am not making an attempt to say something about it in any method, however I hope it is okay with me.”