NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Yankees acquired All-Star outfielder Andrew Benintendi from the Kansas City Royals for three minor league pitchers Wednesday night in what could be the first in a wave of moves ahead of the trade deadline next week.
Right-handers Chandler Champlain and Beck Way went to the Royals with left-hander TJ Sikkema.
Benintendi, a 28-year-old left-handed hitter, was among 10 Royals who missed a four-game series in Toronto July 14-17 because he wasn’t vaccinated. Benintendi lost $186,813 of the $8.5 million salary he earned in an arbitration case against the Royals.
New York thinks he’s ready to get vaccinated. No Yankees have missed previous trips to Toronto this season, and the Yankees have a three-game series there Sept. 26-28.
Benintendi is hitting .320 with three home runs, 39 RBIs and a .788 OPS and won a Gold Glove in left field last season. He hasn’t made any mistakes this season.
Benintendi, who is eligible for free agency after this season, gives the Yankees another outfield option. Giancarlo Stanton is expected to miss at least two to three weeks after being on the disabled list this week with left Achilles tendonitis, and Joey Gallo is hitting .161 with 103 strikeouts in 230 at-bats.
New York has increasingly used Matt Carpenter in the outfield along with Aaron Judge and Aaron Hicks.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone took issue with the idea that the Yankees had too many power hitters on their roster.
“We have some savages in the lineup and some really good hitters. Benitendi is a great hitter, he comes on base at a really high clip, hits from the left side, so, yeah, that gives you some balance,” Boone said after Wednesday night’s 3-2 loss to the Mets and just before the announcement of the exchange.
“So if we get him, he’s another really good big league hitter to add to the mix that’s going to lengthen a formation and potentially give you that balance that you’re looking for. So if we get him, I’ll be happy to write his name,” he said.
On Wednesday, Benintendi went 1 for 4 in Kansas City’s 4-0 loss to the Angels. Thursday night, the Royals open a series at Yankee Stadium.
Benintendi is .261 with seven home runs and 20 RBIs in 30 career games at Yankee Stadium. He finished second to the judge in the 2017 AL Rookie of the Year voting and won a World Series title with Boston the following year.
“It’s definitely going to be a big part of what happens here… Any time you bring it into this kind of culture that we have, it’s always a plus and kind of an energy boost,” Judge said. “Adding a guy like that is definitely going to give us some pump, that’s for sure. And I think he’s going to fit in perfectly.
Champlain, 23, was a ninth-round pick last year and was 2-5 with a 4.30 ERA in 15 starts and one relief appearance at Tampa’s Class A.
Sikkema, 24, was selected in the Competitive Balance Round A of the 2019 draft and went 1-1 with a 2.48 ERA in 10 starts and a relief appearance at Class A Hudson Valley.
Way, 22, was a fourth-round pick two years ago and was 5-5 with a 3.73 ERA in 15 starts at Hudson Valley.
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