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Andrew Benintendi wins arbitration case against the Royals

The outfielder will make $8.5 million in his last year before free agency.

Kansas City Royals v Chicago White Sox Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

Andrew Benintendi won his arbitration hearing against the Royals this year and will earn $8.5 million in his final year under the arbitration system. The Royals had countered with an offer of $7.3 million. The arbiter must rule for one side or the other, not a split in the difference. The Royals have only had one arbitration case go to a hearing under Dayton Moore, with Brandon Maurer losing his case in 2018.

Arbitration hearings typically take place in February, but they were pushed into the regular season this year due to the owner lockout. Benintendi earned $6.6 million last year as a 2.4 rWAR player, when he hit .276/.324/.442 with 17 home runs, winning his first Gold Glove Award.

The 27-year old Benintendi is off to a terrific start this year, hitting .324/.374/.432 with two home runs in 30 games, good for 22nd in the American League in wRC+. He will be a free agent at the end of this season, and said back in March he wasn’t aware of any long-term contract discussions with the club.

“If that conversation comes up, I think it would be irresponsible of me not to listen to it,” Benintendi said. “We’ll see how it goes. I’m going to control what I can control right now. Just getting ready for the reason.”

The Royals still have one more arbitration hearing for Nicky Lopez, which will take place next month, according to Lynn Worthy. Lopez is in his first year of arbitration as a “Super-Two” player and MLB Trade Rumors projects he would earn around $2 million.

Benintendi will be the fourth-highest paid player on the Royals roster this season. The Royals are projected to have a payroll of just under $95 million, although pre-arbitration players can earn more money under a new system that rewards players that have produced under WAR and won awards.

Italics indicates estimates.

Royals 2022 payroll

Player 2022 salary
Player 2022 salary
Salvador Perez $18,000,000
Zack Greinke $13,000,000
Carlos Santana $10,500,000
Andrew Benintendi $8,500,000
Whit Merrifield $7,000,000
Brad Keller $4,825,000
Hunter Dozier $4,750,000
Michael A. Taylor $4,500,000
Adalberto Mondesi $3,000,000
Scott Barlow $2,400,000
Amir Garrett $2,025,000
Nicky Lopez $2,000,000
Ryan O'Hearn $1,300,000
Taylor Clarke $975,000
Cam Gallagher $885,000
Remaining pre-arb players $11,000,000
$94,660,000

What would you do with Andrew Benintendi?

Poll

What would you do with Andrew Benintendi?

  • 52%
    Sign him to a long-term deal now
    (374 votes)
  • 42%
    Trade him mid-season
    (308 votes)
  • 4%
    Play out the season with him and let him test free agency
    (35 votes)
717 votes total Vote Now