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Andrew Benintendi trade: Yankees acquire All-Star outfielder from Royals for three pitching prospects

The trade deadline is really a week away, and the NY Yankees have made their first move. On Wednesday night, the Yankees acquired All-Star outfielder Andrew Benintendi from the Kansas City Royals for three pitching prospects, the team announced. The Royals open a four-game series at Yankee Stadium on Thursday, so Benintendi will be able to join his new team immediately.

“Adding a man like that will certainly give us just a little pump-up, that’s for certain,” Yankees slugger Aaron Judge following Wednesday’s loss to the brand new York Mets. “Bat to ball skills, speed, always works an excellent at-bat and he is able to leave the yard. I’ve seen it often at Yankee Stadium. He’s a well-rounded player.”

Benintendi, 28, owns a .320/.387/.398 line with three home runs this year, which earned him his first All-Star Game berth. He’ll replace Joey Gallo, who’s likely to be moved ahead of Tuesday’s trade deadline. Benintendi and Gallo are polar opposites — Benintendi is really a high average/low power hitter and Gallo is low average/high power.

It ought to be noted Benintendi didn’t happen to be Toronto with the Royals earlier this month. The Yankees were reported to be rethinking their fascination with Benintendi following that, though obviously these were not deterred. Benintendi has indicated he’ll obtain the COVID-19 vaccine so he is able to enter Canada later on.

The Yankees have a 11.5-game lead in the AL East and only 1 more regular-season series in Toronto (Sept. 26-28). The bigger concern is really a potential postseason matchup with the Blue Jays. That September series might not matter given New York’s big division lead. You may be sure the Yankees want Benintendi obtainable in the postseason, however.

Benintendi is scheduled to become free agent following the season. Because he was traded at midseason, he could be no longer permitted have the qualifying offer and can not be linked with draft pick compensation. MLB and the MLBPA didn’t agree to a global draft ahead of Monday deadline, and for that reason the qualifying offer system remains set up.

Adding a lefty outfield bat in Benintendi likely takes the Yankees out from the running for Washington Nationals wunderkind Juan Soto. The Yankees figure to target their trade deadline energy on pitching these next couple of days, both starters and relievers. They are linked with high-end starters like Luis Castillo and Frankie Montas, in addition to a host of relievers.

All three pitching prospects the Royals acquired in the trade ranked come in Single-A: righties Beck Way and Chandler Champlain, and lefty TJ Sikkema. Sikkema, the No. 38 pick in the 2019 draft, missed 2021 with injuries but has been excellent this year. ranks Sikkema the No. 19 prospect in New York’s system and Way the No. 21 prospect. Champlain is unranked.

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