The Yankees have acquired former Red Sox outfielder Andrew Benintendi from the Royals in exchange for three pitching prospects, the clubs announced late Wednesday night.
Benintendi, 28, was viewed as an appealing target ahead of the August 2 trade deadline given the fact that he is slated to become a free-agent at the end of the season and was playing for a 39-59 Royals team that is not contending for anything.
A first-time All-Star in his second year in Kansas City, the left-handed hitting Benintendi is currently batting .320/.387/.398 with 14 doubles, two triples, three home runs, 39 RBIs, 40 runs scored, four stolen bases, 39 walks, and 52 strikeouts over 93 games (390 plate appearances) this season.
Defensively, Benintendi is coming off a 2021 campaign in which he took home the Gold Glove Award for American League left fielders. The 5-foot-9, 180-pounder has yet to commit an error at the position this season while posting an ultimate zone rating of 7.1 across 766 innings.
While Benintendi’s on-field performance has been solid, there were some concerns about his unwillingness to get vaccinated against COVID-19 after missing the Royals’ four-game series in Toronto earlier this month. It remains to be seen if he has changed his stance and will get vaccinated now that he is on a contender, but the Yankees only have to play three more regular season games north of the border (from September 26-28), anyway.
In return for Benintendi, the Royals are receiving right-handers Chandler Champlain and Beck Way and left-hander T.J. Sikkema from the Yankees. Champlain, selected in the ninth round of last year’s draft, was regarded by Baseball America as the No. 29 prospect in New York’s farm system. Way, selected in the fourth round of the 2020 draft, was regarded by Baseball America as the No. 13 prospect in New York’s farm system. Sikkema, selected in the first round of the 2019 draft, was regarded by Baseball America as the No. 23 prospect in New York’s farm system.
Interestingly enough, the Royals are slated to open a four-game series against the first-place Yankees in the Bronx on Thursday, so Benintendi will not need to travel far to join his new team.
Benintendi, who spent the first five years of his major-league career (and won a World Series title with) the Red Sox, will get to experience baseball’s greatest rivalry from the other side when the Yankees come to Boston for a three-game series at Fenway park next month.
(Picture of Andrew Benintendi: Jay Biggerstaff/Getty Images)