After weeks of speculation, Andrew Benintendi is heading to the Bronx.
The Yankees acquired Benintendi, a left fielder, from Kansas City on Wednesday night, the team announced shortly after a 3-2 loss to the Mets in Queens. The deal, which was first reported by Jack Curry of the YES Network, gives the Yankees a high-contact batter as a reinforcement within the outfield in exchange for 3 pitching prospects: the right-handers Chandler Champlain and Beck Way and the lefty T.J. Sikkema.
It also gives the team a possible headache down the road if Benintendi chooses to stay unvaccinated against Covid-19, which might make him ineligible for games in Toronto.
Benintendi, 28, was an All-Star for the Royals this season. He’s hitting .320 with a .387 on-base percentage, three home runs and 39 R.B.I. His arrival comes a day after the Yankees placed Giancarlo Stanton on the injured list with tendinitis in his left Achilles and in the midst of a troublesome yr for Joey Gallo, whose strikeout-heavy approach has not been balanced out along with his typical barrage of home runs and walks.
Gallo’s .161 average is barely greater than half of Benintendi’s, while each players are above-average fielders. But there may be also a large gap in power: Benintendi, who has hit as many as 20 home runs in a season up to now, has adjusted his approach to emphasise contact. His .399 slugging percentage could be his worst mark in a full season.
“Benintendi’s an excellent hitter. Gets on base at a very high clip, hits from the left side, so yeah, gives you some balance,” Yankees Manager Aaron Boone told reporters just before the Yankees announced the trade. “That’s one other really good big league hitter so as to add to the combination that’s going to elongate out our lineup and potentially provide you with that balance you search for.”
The move is a return to the American League East for Benintendi, who was a first-round draft pick of the Boston Red Sox in 2015 out of the University of Arkansas and spent his first five major league seasons with the club. He was sent to the Royals in a February 2021 trade.
The Royals will immediately need to face their former outfielder as Kansas City begins a four-game series at Yankee Stadium on Thursday.
“I had a probability to play against him for quite a number of years when he was playing over in Boston,” Aaron Judge told reporters before the move was official. “I’ve seen him do a variety of impressive things.”
Judge continued: “Adding a man like that will certainly give us a bit pump-up, that’s needless to say. I believe he’s gonna fit right in.”
Potentially complicating matters for the Yankees down the road is the proven fact that Benintendi was considered one of 10 Royals who needed to be placed on the restricted list ahead of a series in Toronto earlier this month because they weren’t vaccinated against Covid-19. The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal and Jayson Stark reported that Benintendi’s vaccination status was not discussed between the Royals and the Yankees.
The Yankees, whose entire energetic roster was cleared for Canadian travel earlier this season, have one series left in Toronto in late September and will also play the Blue Jays, who’re second within the A.L. East, within the postseason. Benintendi, should he comply with get the vaccine, has loads of time to achieve this before it’s a difficulty.
Despite being considered one of the more sought-after outfielders in the marketplace, Benintendi, who’s eligible without cost agency this off-season, didn’t cost the Yankees any premium prospects. Not one of the pitchers acquired by the Royals have experience above High Class-A.
Sikkema, a 2019 first-round pick, was the Yankees’ No. 19 prospect, in line with MLB.com. He owned a 2.48 E.R.A. over 11 games (10 starts) with High-A Hudson Valley this season. Way, a 2020 fourth-rounder, ranked twenty first the Yankees’ system. He recorded a 3.73 E.R.A. in 15 starts with Hudson Valley before the trade.
Champlain, meanwhile, is playing his first season of professional ball after being a ninth-round pick in last yr’s draft. He had a 4.30 E.R.A. in 16 games (15 starts) for Class-A Tampa.
With the Aug. 2 trade deadline right across the corner, the Yankees will not be done dealing. Rotation depth is a difficulty with Luis Severino on the injured list, Nestor Cortes at a career-high innings count, and Jameson Taillon in a funk. The available options would likely include Cincinnati’s Luis Castillo and Oakland’s Frankie Montas, each of whom are pitching well for last-place clubs.
Latest York may additionally attempt to trade for a reliever following a season-ending elbow fracture sustained by Michael King, considered one of this yr’s surprise stars within the bullpen.