Yankees pick up Royals outfielder Andrew Benintendi

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The Yankees were expecting to see Andrew Benintendi on Thursday, they just weren’t expecting to see the All-Star outfielder in their clubhouse. The Yankees announced they had acquired Benintendi in a deal with Kansas City. The Royals, coincidentally, will be in the Bronx for a four-game series beginning Thursday night.

ESPN first reported the deal, which sends three minor league pitchers back to Kansas City, on the heels of the Yankees being swept by the Mets in the Subway Series. The Yankees have now gone 14-15 in their last 29 games.

The 28-year old Benintendi is slashing .321/.389/.399 with three home runs this season. The left-handed hitter made his first All-Star Game appearance this season and is scheduled to become a free agent after the season.

The 2021 Gold Glove Award winner, Benintendi has made 89 starts in left field this year and has not made an error in 164 total chances. His 40 outfield assists since 2017 are tied for the fourth-most in the Majors in that span.

Over seven Major League seasons with the Red Sox (2016-20) and Royals (2021-22), he has batted .280 with 71 home runs and 65 stolen bases in 712 career games. He has hit .324/.410/.491 with 45 doubles, nine triples, 14 home runs with runners in scoring position.

Benintendi also has the playoff experience the Yankees hope will make a difference. He has made the postseason three times with the Red Sox, including winning a World Series. He hit .272/.322/.407 with two home runs and nine RBI in 21 career postseason games. In 2018, he started 13 of 14 playoff games for the Red Sox during their World Series run.

The Royals were initially seeking top prospects for Benintendi.

The price came down somewhat, however, after it was revealed that Benintendi was not vaccinated against the coronavirus at the time the Royals were headed to Toronto and he therefore could not enter Canada. The Yankees have one more series in Toronto in the regular season and there is a chance that they could have to go to Canada for the playoffs.

The Yankees have been interested in adding a left-handed outfield bat to take over for the struggling Joey Gallo, who they got at last year’s trade deadline. Gallo is hitting .161/.285/.343 with 12 home runs and 24 RBI in 230 at-bats this season. He did not play in the Yankees’ loss to the Mets Wednesday night.

The Royals spent weeks scouring the Yankees system in the spring and early months of the season and some in their organization think there are plenty of other prospects to try and work a deal with. Even in the lowest level Florida Complex League, the source told the News earlier this month there are “lots of players to consider,” in a possible deal.

The Royals get right-handed pitcher Beck Way, who the Yankees picked up in the fourth round of the 2020 draft along with right-handed pitcher Chandler Champlain and left-handed pitcher TJ Sikkema.

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