Andrew Benintendi is staking his claim to another season with the KC Royals.
That Andrew Benintendi was enjoying his best hitting of the season heading into Sunday’s game with the Twins was clear. He was slashing .341/.383/.682 in September and had already driven in 14 runs for the month. And he was 6-for-9 with a pair of home runs in the series’ first two games, extending the hot streak Kings of Kauffman’s Batoul Hammoud described so well in her Saturday story.
Benintendi didn’t let up Sunday. He went 2-for-4 with an RBI, raising his three-day average against Minnesota to .615 (8-for-13) and keeping his September torrid—he’s hitting .354 with three home runs and 15 RBIs in 12 games.
Those numbers solidify Benintendi’s Kansas City position for next season. Some may not realize he’s not a complete shoo-in to return: this is the final year of the two-year contract the Royals assumed when they traded for him last February, so Benintendi, ineligible for free agency until next season ends, is subject to arbitration this winter.
So, while he’s under club control, that control extends broadly. The KC Royals don’t have to bring him back—they can simply non-tender him, making him a free agent a year before he’d otherwise be eligible, or they could trade him.
The more likely scenario is that he stays in Kansas City. He is, after all, the decent left-handed bat General Manager Dayton Moore spend almost all last winter seeking, and has performed well much of this season. Look for Moore, famous for avoiding arbitration, to offer Benintendi an acceptable, yet lucrative, one-year deal; the parties might even find a satisfactory way to extend Benintendi.
Especially after the kind of September he’s having.