NY — It had been for this time this past year that pinging sound files and glowing screens filled a charter flight from Tampa to Miami, gossip filtering through the entire cabin that the Yankees were acquiring Anthony Rizzo from the Cubs. The move provided a welcome spark, prompting celebration in the aisles.
Rizzo and his teammates were in a pin-drop silent visiting clubhouse at Citi Field on Wednesday evening if they learned of another deal in the works, one which they hope will similarly enhance their postseason chances. Soon after a 3-2 loss to the Mets, the Yanks finalized a weeks-in-the-making swap with the Royals for outfielder Andrew Benintendi.
Yankees get: OF Andrew Benintendi
Royals get: RHP Chandler Champlain, LHP T.J. Sikkema and RHP Beck Way
Hes an extremely good player, outfielder Aaron Judge said. Ive had to be able to play against him for quite some years when he was playing over in Boston. Ive seen him execute a large amount of impressive things. So if thats true, itll be definitely a large piece from what weve got going on here.
In the offer, confirmed by both clubs later at night, the Yankees sent three pitching prospects to Kansas City in trade for the 28-year-old Benintendi: right-hander Chandler Champlain, left-hander T.J. Sikkema and right-hander Beck Way.
Benintendis acquisition helped dull the sting of a walk-off loss to the Mets, when Starling Martes hit off Wandy Peralta sealed a two-game Subway Series sweep.
Hes an extremely good player in the center of an All-Star season, Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. Hes got a history of success with the  Red Sox championship run. Obviously he was an extremely good player for them, but hes piecing together an extremely good year for the Royals at this time.
Silenced by birthday boy Max Scherzer over seven innings, Gleyber Torres two-run homer off David Peterson accounted for the Yanks offense on Wednesday, as NY went 0-for-15 with runners in scoring position on the two games in Queens.
Boone said he believes the left-handed-hitting Benintendi, an American League All-Star this year, can help upgrade an already formidable order.
Its fake news that weve got way too many power hitters in the lineup, way too many sluggers, Boone said. Weve got savages in the lineup, excellent hitters. Benintendi is a good hitter, gets on base at an extremely high clip, hits from the left side that provides you some balance. … Ill be excited to create his name.
In 93 games this year, Benintendi has hit .320/.387/.398 with 14 doubles, two triples, three homers, 39 RBIs and four stolen bases. Benintendis 34 multi-hit games rank first in the American League, while he could be third in batting average, tied for second in hits (111) and sixth in on-base percentage.
Dog days of summer, weve been grinding it out for some time, then you put in a piece like this, Judge said. A man thats been hitting more than .300 all year, playing great defense and being sort of a sparkplug over there in Kansas City. Anytime you bring him in to the kind of culture weve got, its always an advantage and a lift of energy.
Benintendi was in the news recently for non-baseball reasons, as he was among several Royals struggling to happen to be Toronto because he previously not been vaccinated against COVID-19. The Yankees have one regular-season series remaining in Toronto (Sept. 26-28); the brand new York Post reported on Wednesday that Benintendi has told people near him he would have the vaccine.
A 2021 Gold Glover who has played seven big league seasons with the Red Sox (2016-20) and Royals (2021-22), Benintendi has made 88 starts in left field this year, not committing one in 164 total chances.
His arrival could create an outfield alignment of Benintendi in left field, Judge in center field and a variety of Aaron Hicks and Matt Carpenter in right field, at the very least until Giancarlo Stanton returns from the injured list.
Benintendis acquisition also likely spells the looming end of Joey Gallos amount of time in a Yankees uniform; Gallo is batting .161 (37-for-230) with 103 strikeouts in 80 games, having last been used as a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning on Tuesday against Mets closer Edwin Daz.
Wednesdays loss was the Yankees 12th in 22 games this month, plus they will have the Majors second-best record at 66-33 (the Dodgers are 65-32).
Were still among the best teams in the overall game, therefore i wouldnt really judge our season following a little while, Judge said. But I believe adding a man like [Benintendi] will certainly give us just a little increase, thats for certain. I believe hes likely to fit right in.