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 mentioned throughout his introductory information convention on the assured fee subject on Wednesday. “It is good to be right here with a crew that wished me from day one.”
The Benintendi deal. first reported on December 16 — the largest in crew historical past.
“The best way I strategy it, it does not matter what the (contract) quantity is, it is about successful video games,” he mentioned. “It is about taking part in arduous. No person actually cares (concerning the contract) should you do not win video games. In the long run, it is all about successful and being a superb teammate.”
He joins a crew trying to bounce again after going 81-81 final season and lacking the playoffs.
“The very first thing that stands out about that crew is the taking part in lineup,” Benintendi mentioned. “Powerful palms within the bullpen, powerful begins. And it is only a bonus on the opposite aspect as properly. The expertise on the plate, the blokes at bats, the pace, the ability.
“I am excited to be part of it, watching from afar the final two years, to be part of that lineup, this crew, I am excited to make it occur.”
Benintendi, 28, has a .279/.351/.431 slash line with 169 doubles, 73 dwelling runs and 384 RBI in 745 video games with the Boston Pink Sox (2016-20), Kansas Metropolis Royals (2021-22). New York Yankees (2022).
He additionally has a bond with a few of his new teammates, together with taking part in with reliever Joe Kelly 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 mentioned. “He did every thing within the recreation. he hits for common, hits for energy, runs the bases properly. He suits rather well with what we’re making an attempt to do right here.
“He is a terrific match at this ball membership, he is a terrific 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 after I was in Kansas Metropolis,” Benintendi mentioned. “It is simple to joke with him. It has been a superb relationship and searching ahead to the subsequent 5 years, it will be even higher.”
Benintendi slashed .304/.373/.399 with 23 doubles, 5 dwelling 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 at the very least 15 dwelling 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 mentioned: “Oh sure, everybody would love that.
“However for me, taking part in at Kauffman Stadium in 2021, I used to be fairly upset 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 would take every thing to hit a ball out of that stadium. So going into final 12 months, I used to be like, let’s simply hit a better common and a better base and hope this works or I’ll be in a world of hassle. I attempt to be an entire hitter.
“Taking part in on this stadium, quite a lot 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 crew wants me to be, no matter participant they want, that is what I am going to attempt to be.”
Benintendi additionally provides the Sox safety in left subject. he received the Gold Glove Award in 2021. In accordance with FanGraphs, Benintendi leads all main league left fielders with 31 defensive runs saved since 2017.
“That is one thing you do not respect while you’re younger,” Benintendi mentioned 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 taking part in, 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 taking part in on the larger subject at Kauffman, in order that’s one thing I have been happy with. … It is one thing I am going to 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 function.
“(Benintendi) comes right here to play left subject, he is completed that his complete profession and he is clearly superb at it,” Grifol mentioned. “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 trying ahead to assembly Benintendi, describing him as a “quiet chief. Performs the sport arduous, respects the sport, and he’ll be a hell of a teammate.”
It is a new crew and a brand new equipment for Benintendi, who laughed when requested if the quantity 23 had any significance.
“It is not what you assume,” he mentioned. “I am a Michael Jordan fan rising up. However the staple numbers I often prefer to put on have all been taken or retired. And this got here up and I believed, “Why not”: My sister, her senior 12 months was 32, so I can flip that in her favor.
“It is a terrific quantity, a symbolic quantity on this metropolis. I am not making an attempt to say something about it in any approach, however I hope it is okay with me.”