NEW YORK — Twenty minutes after the Yankees lost the second game of the Subway Series at Citi Field on Wednesday night, YES Network’s Jack Curry reported the Yankees were acquiring Royals outfielder Andrew Benintendi in exchange for minor league pitchers Beck Way, Chandler Champlain and T.J. Sikkema.Apologies to the Mets and Daniel Vogelbach, but the Benintendi deal is the first big move of the season and comes with less than a week to go before the Aug. 2 trade deadline. Benintendi, an All-Star for the first time this year, won the World Series with the Red Sox in 2018, one year after finishing second to Aaron Judge in the AL Rookie of the Year voting.“I’m not sure if anything is official, but he’s obviously a really good player in the middle of an All-Star season,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said in his postgame press conference moments after the news broke. “If we get him, I’ll be excited to write his name in the lineup.”The trade was not yet official at the time of Boone’s press conference, but rest assured he will get the chance to pencil in Benintendi right away. Coincidentally, the outfielder was already going to be in the Bronx anyway; the Royals begin a four-game series against the Yankees on Thursday. Benintendi will be in the other dugout.
The 28-year-old immediately makes the Yankees better. He fills a few needs for them. He’s a left-handed hitter who can help balance out their lineup, which is still a bit righty heavy despite the additions of Anthony Rizzo, Matt Carpenter and Joey Gallo (more on him later) over the last year.
He also gives the Yankees some much-needed outfield depth. Giancarlo Stanton is on the injured list with left Achilles tendinitis and could be out for the next few weeks. Carpenter has been one of the best hitters in the league since he joined the Yankees, but he is not an everyday corner outfielder, which is where New York has been playing him of late. After getting off to a dreadful start, Aaron Hicks quietly has been one of the Yankees’ more consistent hitters since the beginning of June. But he’s played more than 100 games in a season just twice in his career.
Without Stanton, the Yankees can play Hicks in center and Judge in right. Or, they can keep Judge in center, move Carpenter to right and put Josh Donaldson into the lineup at third, with LeMahieu playing second and Torres at DH. You get the idea. There are options. Whichever player in this group is the odd man out of the lineup on any given day would be a solid pinch-hitting option for late in the game, likely for Kiner-Falefa or one of the catchers, Trevino or backup Kyle Higashioka. Anybody but Gallo.