Not long ago, the Red Sox had an outfield of three homegrown outfielders -- Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Mookie Betts.
Now, at least for the time being, they're all gone.
Benintendi, the last of the trio remaining with the Red Sox, was shipped to the Kansas City Royals in a complicated, three-team deal involving the New York Mets.
In exchange, the Red Sox received outfielder Franchy Cordero from the Royals and swingman Josh Winckowski from the Mets. The Sox also stand to receive two players to be named later from the Royals and another from the Mets.
The Sox also sent $2.8 million to the Royals to help pay Benintendi's $6.6 million salary for 2021, and, it would seem, to improve the level of talent they got back in return.
In a bit of additional irony, the Benintendi trade comes exactly a year to the day after the Sox packaged Betts and David Price to the Los Angeles Dodgers in a five-player swap.
MLB Network's Jon Heyman was the first to report the deal was in place.
"I know for our fans, this is not the first time in the last year-plus, that they've seen a player who's important to them and important to the organization leave,'' said chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom in a Zoom call with reporters. "I know that's tough. I know it's painful. We're obviously doing what we think is right for the organization.
"This type of move, a lot of it's about considering opportunities -- wherever they may come from -- to better address what we need to address long-term: to add depth and talent to the organization. This deal, we felt we were able to do that in multiple ways.''
Benintendi's name had first popped up in trade talks last month, with a number of teams expressing interest. After a strong debut from 2016-2018 including a star turn in the 2019 run to the World Series, Benintendi regressed over the last two seasons and, after struggling in the first 14 games of the 2020 season, suffered a season-ending rib injury and missed the final seven weeks of the season.
With a sweet swing, strong defensive instincts and above-average speed, Benintendi was projected as a star from the time the Red Sox drafted him with the seventh overall pick in the 2015 draft. He made his major league debut some 14 months later.
As recently as a few weeks ago, when hitting instructor Tim Hyers visited Benintendi at his home to check on his offseason, there was optimism he would find a way to rebound in 2021. Now, if that happens, he'll do so elsewhere. Benintendi is under control through the end of the 2022 season.
He's signed for $6.6 million this year, though from the Red Sox' standpoint, they'll only save $5 million toward the CBT threshold. Benintendi signed a tw0-year, $10-million deal last winter.
For the Red Sox, Cordero is the big return in the trade, described by Bloom as a player "with a ton of upside.'' He's