On the heels of a 56-21 start, the month of July has not gone smoothly for the Yankees. After losing to the Mets on a walk-off hit by Starling Marte to fall to 10-12 on the month, New York has acquired an outfielder to attempt to fill the void left by Giancarlo Stanton on the IL and Joey Gallo on the perennially-disappointing roll call.
The big name? Royals outfielder and former Red Sox foe Andrew Benintendi. YES Network’s Jack Curry was the first to report the news, and Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports tweeted the specifics on the 2018 World Series champion:
Heading to Royals, per source: Chandler Champlain, Beck Way, TJ Sikkema https://t.co/IgLzs86daX— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 28, 2022
The Royals later confirmed the move.
Initial reaction? This is fine, assuming two conditions:
1) Juan Soto is not getting traded.
2) Andrew Benintendi intends to get vaccinated to play in any series in Toronto.
These two conditions are absolutely crucial because in a vacuum, Benitendi is a solid pickup. The 28-year-old is hitting .320/.387/.398 with a 126 wRC+ in 93 games and gives New York a contact-hitting, smooth-fielding threat from the left side. The problem is that Soto is quite obviously a better player and deserves New York’s attention, and that Benintendi was not vaccinated as of the Royals’ most recent series north of the border and was unable to play from July 14th-17th.
The response to both points is that 1) It’s possible that Soto is not traded at all or that the Yankees still feel that they have top-shelf prospect capital to trade for him, and 2) While Benintendi told the media after the trade that he remains unvaccinated, Jon Heyman reported that night that he does have plans to get the shots. In regards to the latter point, the Yankees do not seem concerned:
Benintendi’s vaccination status was never discussed, sources tell me and @Jaysonst. Yankees either not worried about one remaining series they have in Toronto, or received some indication Benintendi might get vaccine. TOR also was in mix for Benintendi, as were MIL and LAD.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 28, 2022
The Yankees’ next series in Toronto is from September 26th through the 28th. Fingers crossed that Benintendi has taken care of business by then.
As for the prospects dealt, the Yankees are trading from their pitching haul of the past few drafts. T.J. Sikkema was the 38th overall pick of the 2019 MLB Draft, but injuries had limited him to just 36.2 innings since the end of 2019 — all in this current season with High-A Hudson Valley. Beck Way was their fourth-round pick in 2020 and had a 3.73 ERA and 1.120 WHIP in 15 starts with Hudson Valley on the eve of his 23rd birthday. Chandler Champlain was just taken last year in the ninth round out of USC but was scuffling down in Low-A Tampa. All pitchers were expendable for potential MLB talent, particularly with Gallo on the skids.
We’ll have more to come, so stay tuned to PSA for more on the 2022 trade deadline.