Former Royals outfielder Andrew Benintendi will be back in the American League Central, but it will be with the division-rival Chicago White Sox. The free agent signed a five-year, $75 million deal with the Sox, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan. It is is the largest contract in White Sox franchise history.
The 28-year-old Benintendi is coming off his best season since 2018, where he hit .304/.373/.399 with 52 walks. He was worth 3.2 rWAR overall and earned his first All-Star appearances. The Royals traded him in July to the Yankees for minor league pitchers T.J. Sikkema, Beck Way, and Chandler Champlain.
The Royals originally acquired the left-handed hitting outfielder from Boston in a three-way trade that sent outfielder Khalil Lee to the Mets and pitchers Grant Gambrell and Luis de la Rosa to the Red Sox. Benintendi will re-join Pedro Grifol, the former Royals bench coach who is now the White Sox manager. Chicago is coming off a disappointing 81-81 season, but has exciting young players with Tim Anderson, Eloy Jimenez, Yoan Moncada, Luis Robert, Lucas Giolito, and Dylan Cease on the roster, although the team did lose first baseman Jose Abreu to the Astros in free agency.