NEW YORK – Andrew Benintendi has landed with the Yankees, a team suddenly in need of an offensive spark – plus a little more pitching – prior to Tuesday’s MLB trade deadline.
Yankees slugger Aaron Judge agreed that Benintendi’s acquisition form the Kansas City Royals – in exchange for three minor league pitchers – would provide a spark, “especially when you add a guy like that, hitting over .300 all year and playing great defense. ”
Not long after the Yankees were swept in the two-game Subway Series, Queens edition, with a 3-2 loss to the Mets at Citi Field, the Yanks announced the deal for the lefty-hitting outfielder.
Right away, Benintendi will get to play against his old team; the Royals arrive at Yankee Stadium for a four-game set beginning Thursday night.
None of the three pitchers going to Kansas City – Chandler Champlain, Beck Way and TJ Sikkema – ranked higher than 19th on the Yanks’ prospect list, as rated by MLB.com.
Sikkema, a lefty, is No. 19, and the right-handed Way is No. 21.
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A free agent at season’s end, Benintendi, 28, is hitting .320 this season along with a .387 on-base percentage, but just three homers in 92 games.
“It will definitely be a big piece to what we have going on here,” Judge said of Benintendi, a member of the 2018 world champion Boston Red Sox and the 2017 runner-up for AL Rookie of the Year. “He’s a well- rounded player.
“I think adding a guy like that will give us a real pump-up, that’s for sure.”
The Yankees remain deeply in the market for starting pitching, with Cincinnati Reds’ right-hander Luis Castillo atop their wish list, and they are shopping for bullpen upgrades.
Benintendi was one of several Royals players unvaccinated for COVID-19 and unable to play in a recent series at Toronto.
The Yankees have one series left at Toronto, in September, and the Blue Jays are a possible postseason Yankees’ opponent.
After some initial question as to the vaccination status of a couple of Yankees before their first series at Toronto in May, every player on their active 26-man roster has been eligible for travel to Canada.
Benintendi’s presence as a former Gold Glove Award-winning left fielder (2021) and lefty bat almost assuredly means goodbye to Joey Gallo, whose New York experience has been awful since his arrival via trade last summer from the Texas Rangers.
The .161-hitting Gallo, with 103 strikeouts in 80 games, did not start against right-handers Taijuan Walker and Max Scherzer in the Subway Series, even with Giancarlo Stanton (Achilles tendinitis) on the injured list.