10:10 pm: Trade Yankees announced.
9:45 pm: The Royals will get three minor league players in return, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports (on Twitter).
9:38 pm: The Yankees are set to get a defensive player Andrew Benintende From the royal family, YES Network’s Jack Carey reports (Twitter link). New York has been seeking an outdoor upgrade in recent weeks, and will fill the gap by landing one of the best rental bats on the market.
Benintendi has been one of the most visible commercial candidates in the game over the past few months. The Royals entered 2022 with competition designs, but they faltered at 16-32 through the end of May. That made Kansas City a potential seller clear to deadline, and an imminent free agent like Benintendi a strong candidate for a change of uniform.
New York adds a contact-oriented bat to its outdoor mix. Owning a .321/.389/.399 year-round, the Benintendi walks in at a solid 10.1% clip while only coming out on 13.5% of his trips to the plate. He’s only connected in three home runs, but Benintendi leads the bigs with 91 singles and 14 doubles. He didn’t look like the Homer 15-20 racket he had during his first seasons with the Red Sox, but he dialed in with 82.6% of his swings.
Benintendi’s high hit rate of 368 is supported on the ball level during gameplay. As a driving hitter who uses the entire field, he usually generates solid results on hit balls, although the Yankees are unlikely to expect their mark in 2022 to remain very high. Even if his BABIP dips close to his .325 career mark, his discipline on the plates and control on the bat should support a steady ratio on the base.
Benentende’s racquet-to-ball skills contrast sharply with the player he is likely to remove from the squad, Joey Gallo. The biggest pickup in New York this past summer, Gallo has struggled hard since landing in the Bronx. He’s a .160/.293/.371 hitter in 498 board appearances as a Yankee, making a whopping 38.4% clip over this stretch. Among the hitters who have appeared on the 200-plus plates this season, Gallo has the third-highest strike rate (38.1%) and the third-lowest contact rate on flips (62.2%).
The Yankees are now about to roll out Benintende, the MVP candidate Aaron Judge And the Aaron Hicks – Huge .333/ .471/ .593 streak this month after a slow start to the season — most days. Giancarlo Stanton He is the designated primary hitter, although he fell on the injured list yesterday. New York has already begun to cut back on Gallo’s playing time while working in the hot weather Matt Carpenter In the outside corner mix, and tonight’s possession is the strongest signal yet that the Yankees are ready to get Gallo out of the mix altogether. It stands to reason that they would try to find a trader for him to trade before the next Tuesday deadline.
The judge has dealt appropriately with the transition from right court to center this year, leaving Hicks and Benentende to handle corners. The latter has played exclusively on the left field since landing at the expansive football field in Kansas City, and has earned a good rating in the eyes of both Defensive Runs Saved and Ultimate Zone Rating. Statcast’s Outs Above Average has installed it as a completely zero defender in each of the past couple of years. It should add an above-average fit on the field while offering a marked improvement over Gallo’s recent work on the board. This will be a significant boost to the lineup that has already led the majors with 523 points.
That the Yankees pulled the trigger on a Benentende deal would surely raise some eyebrows for an off-field reason. He was placed on the banned list before the recent Royals series in Toronto, indicating that he had not been vaccinated against COVID-19 at the time. This makes it unavailable for a chain in Toronto that prevents it from changing its vaccination status or removing the ongoing ban on unvaccinated athletes crossing the border. Reports surfaced shortly thereafter that the Yankees could be dissuaded from pursuing him due to concerns about his availability for games in Toronto.
This was clearly not the case in the end. John Heyman of the New York Post and Andy Martino of SNY (Twitter links) that some close to Benintendi believe he is now ready to vaccinate. Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal and Jason Stark point out that the Benintende’s vaccination status did not come up in conversations between the Yankees and Royals’ front offices (Twitter link). Whether it was due to their expectation that he would eventually be eligible to play in Toronto or whether they had just decided to accept his potential absence for some matches is unclear.
The Yankees, who opened a four-game streak against the Royals tomorrow, have only three games left in the regular season in Toronto. With a cushion of 11 1/2 games on Jays in the AL East, a three-game absence – if it comes down to it – seems unlikely to have much of an impact on the regular season standings, although it may be relevant to the event. The Yankees and Jays meet again in the playoffs.
More is coming.
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