The first domino of the trade market just fell late on Wednesday night. The New York Yankees struck a deal with the Kansas City Royals to acquire the services of left-handed hitting outfielder, Andrew Benintendi. In exchange, the Royals will receive a package of three pitching prospects in TJ Sikkema, Beck Way, and Chandler Complain.
There is a lot to unpack with this move on both sides, and what it means for the rest of the trade market. Let’s dive in.
Kansas City Royals
The AL Central team is in the middle of another sub-.500 campaign, and with Benintendi in the midst of his best offensive season since 2018 and headed for free agency at the end of the year, it made a ton of sense for the Royals to cash in and improve their farm system.
According to FanGraphs, only two of the Royals’ eight best prospects are pitchers, and the Yankees have depth at the position in their minor league system, which made this a very good fit.
It’s interesting to note that Scott Barlow wasn’t involved in the deal, even though he is likely to be dealt, and the Yankees could use another arm in the ‘pen with Michael King’s injury. Possibly the asking price was too high for the duo and the Yankees decided to go for just Benintendi.
New York Yankees
The AL East leaders are in the midst of one of the best seasons in baseball, and figure to contend for a World Series title. One of the primary needs of this team was a left-fielder.
Last year’s deadline acquisition Joey Gallo has struggled far more than even the most pessimistic fan could’ve imagined at the time of his trade to the Bronx, and the Yankees cannot afford to keep playing him regularly in the middle of a pennant chase.
Andrew Benintendi isn’t the superstar many would hope for, but he represents a sizeable improvement at an affordable cost for the Yankees, and his acquisition doesn’t preclude the team from making other moves before August 2nd. We definitely shouldn’t rule anything out.
The Yankees have had a bit of a revolving door at the leadoff spot, often hitting Aaron Judge in that position. Benintendi presents a solid option for that role, especially against right-handed pitching, and wherever he ends up hitting, he will provide the lineup with more depth.
Benintendi is not vaccinated as of right now, and there have been conflicting reports about what the Yankees know exactly from his status, from fully agreeing to get the vaccine after the trade to no discussions on the subject at all.
Conventional wisdom and the fact the Jays were in on this sweepstakes indicate that this shouldn’t be a problem, but we’ll have to wait and see for now.