After weeks of speculation, Andrew Benintendi is heading to the Bronx.
The Yankees acquired Benintendi, a left fielder, from Kansas City on Wednesday night, the team announced shortly after a 3-2 loss to the Mets in Queens. The deal, which was first reported by Jack Curry of the YES Network, gives the Yankees a high-contact batter as a reinforcement in the outfield in exchange for three pitching prospects: the right-handers Chandler Champlain and Beck Way and the lefty T.J. Sikkema.
Benintendi, 28, was an All-Star for the Royals this season. He is hitting .320 with a .387 on-base percentage, three home runs and 39 R.B.I. Benintendi’s arrival comes a day after the Yankees placed Giancarlo Stanton on the injured list with tendinitis in his left Achilles and in the middle of a tough year for Joey Gallo, whose strikeout-heavy approach has not been balanced out with his typical barrage of home runs and walks.
The move is a return to the American League East for Benintendi, who was a first-round draft pick of the Boston Red Sox in 2015 out of the University of Arkansas and spent his first five major league seasons with the club. He was sent to the Royals in a February 2021 trade.
The Royals will immediately have to face their former outfielder as Kansas City begins a four-game series at Yankee Stadium on Thursday. New York’s next series against the Red Sox takes place Aug. 12-14 at Fenway Park, which will give Benintendi a look at the other side of one of baseball’s most intense rivalries.
Potentially complicating matters for the Yankees down the road is the fact that Benintendi was one of 10 Royals who had to be placed on the restricted list ahead of a series in Toronto earlier this month because they were not vaccinated against Covid-19. The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal and Jayson Stark reported that Benintendi’s vaccination status was not discussed between the Royals and the Yankees.
The Yankees, whose entire active roster was cleared for Canadian travel earlier this season, have one series left in Toronto in late September and could also play the Blue Jays, who are second in the A.L. East, in the postseason. Benintendi, should he agree to get the vaccine, has plenty of time to do so before it is an issue.