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Curry: Yankees acquire Benintendi

According to YES Network’s Jack Curry the Yankees are acquiring outfielder Andrew Benintendi from the Kansas City Royals. Jeff Passan says its three prospects going to the Royals. More to come…

UPDATE 10:51 EST: Joel Sherman says it’s pitchers Beck Way, Chandler Champlain, and T.J. Sikkema going back to the Royals. I mentioned Sikkema as a likely trade candidate earlier this week. Early impression: That’s it? No harm no foul. Castillo, Soto, whoever are still on the table.

UPDATE 11:28 EST: If there was a way to forget the Yankees getting swept against the Mets it was a trade right after the fact. Andrew Benintendi was the Royals representative at the All-Star game this year, posting a .321/.389/.399 thus far which is good for a 2.1 fWAR. He is the opposite of Joey Gallo, posting a 13.5 K% and 10.1 BB%. Of course, Yankees fans know Benintendi well from his time with the Red Sox. He got a World Series ring with the 2018 Bo-Sox squad. Benintendi won a Gold Glove in Kansas City last year and has been good for 1 DRS in left field for the Royals in 2022.

The Yankees didn’t really give up anything crazy. T.J. Sikkema and Beck Way are 19th and 21st respectively on the Yankees Top 30 prospects according to Chandler Champlain did not rank on that list. I profiled Sikkema here and mentioned how he has bounced back strong from several injuries over the years but there was a “trade him before he gets hurt again” aspect. That’s exactly what happened.

Way was the Yankees fourth round pick in 2020. So far in his two seasons in the minors he has posted a 3.85 ERA, 10.5 K/9, and 4.2 BB/9 over 34 games. The scouting report says scouts are split on his future being as a stater or reliever long term. Arms like Way are the ones the Yankees churn out these days. There is potential here, no doubt, but you have to give up something to get something.

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Champlain was a ninth round pick last year for the Yankees. In his pro debut this year he has posted a 4.30 ERA, 11.54 K/9, and 2.33 BB/9 in 16 games and 73.1 IP. Already 23, Champlain is the kind of pitcher the Yankees can spare.

My early opinions:

  1. The Yankees didn’t give up anything here that takes them out of the running for Luis Castillo, Juan Soto, or anyone else on the market. The Yankees have depth arms like this to spare and Cashman has done a great job of morphing them together in recent years to acquire pieces.
  2. Luis Castillo is next on the Yankees list. Jack Curry said on YES Network that he is the guy they are targeting next. It feels like this move is a precursor to going all in there. Time will tell.
  3. This likely means no Juan Soto for the Yankees. It always felt like a pipe dream but I had held out hope. While I acknowledged in point one that they can still technically acquire him, it’s not how the Yankees operate these days. They pretend to be interested then refuse to trade top prospects and settle for second tier options. This feels like that again.  GENERATIONAL TALENT available and they won’t push the chips in. Come the f*$% on.
  4. Adios Joey Gallo.  I don’t know how or when he’ll be gone but … he’s a goner. Loved the move when it happened but it didn’t work out. Time to move along.
  5. Does this move make the Yankees better?  Yes. Does it move the needle in October? I don’t know. The ninth spot in the line-up in the postseason is now between Benintendi, Aaron Hicks, and Matt Carpenter. The Yankees didn’t give up anything that shows their hand here. But there is a non-zero chance Benintendi isn’t a post season starter.  We shall see.
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