Updated: Apr 12, 2021
Title Photo: Prime Time Sports Talk
I know the trades of Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi hurt. They were two fan favorites, and Betts was the 2nd best player in the league, but Alex Verdugo and Franchy Cordero have the potential to make those moves look good (at least the Benny trade).
Betts vs. Verdugo
Photo: NY Post
I know it hurts. Betts was one season away from hitting the open market. The Red Sox needed to free up cash space. By trading Betts, and at least get some value for him was the best idea. The Red Sox offered him a $300 million extension, but Mookie turned it down, seeking a $420 million deal. Boston just didn’t have the money. The Dodgers are paying Betts $27 million for 2021, while the Sox are paying Verdugo $560,000, and he is under team control until 2025. Dugie has an elite arm and plays all three outfield spots well. He has a great feel for the basepaths and can become one of the best baserunners in the league. Oh, also his swing is tailor-made for the Green Monster. He is a contact heavy hitter, which is perfect for a Red Sox lineup with Rafael Devers, Bobby Dalbec, and soon, Triston Casas. Though most Sox fans love/loved Betts, Verdugo is capable of taking over most of his production.
Benintendi vs. Cordero
Photo: Charlie Riedel / Associated Press
The former first-round pick, Benintendi was traded right before spring training, to the Royals, for Cordero. Cordero has been in San Diego as well. Each team has noticed that he has great power, and could unlock his full potential soon. Benintendi, on the other hand, has been in steady decline since 2019. According to Alex Cora, Benintendi decided to get stronger, without the Red Sox telling him to, which I believe may have killed his career with Boston. Look at his stats from 2018 (148 games played), and 2019 (138 games played):
Photo: Screenshot from BoSox Injection
He was trying to hit the ball in the air. His bat speed became slower. Cordero, on the other hand, his swing is naturally made to hit balls in the air. His swing is made to hit dingers. Benny’s was not. Benny’s was to hit line drives. Cordero needs some coaching on how to use the Green Monster, but otherwise, he fits in well. Defensively, Cordero has shown that he can make plays, and he has done well playing the treacherous Monster. Benintendi also played well in the shadow of the giant wall. I think that both are pretty equal in the field unless you want to count this play, on Opening Day 2021:
Cordero has more upside than Benintendi, but Dugie, as good as he is, is nowhere near Betts’ level. The two new Red Sox outfielders have a chance to become a solid duo, and could potentially become two of the best in the league.