New York Yankees acquire Kansas City Royals outfielder Andrew Benintendi

The Yankees expected to see Andrew Benintendi on Thursday, they just didn’t expect to see the All-Star outfielder in their clubhouse. The Yankees announced that 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 on the deal, which sends three minor league pitchers back to Kansas City, on the heels of the Mets’ sweep of the Yankees in the Subway Series. The Yankees are now 14-15 in their last 29 games.

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

Benintendi, a 2021 Gold Glove winner, has made 89 starts in left field this year and has made no errors in 164 total opportunities. His 40 outfield assists since 2017 are tied for fourth in the majors in that span.

During seven major league seasons with the Red Sox (2016-20) and Royals (2021-22), he has hit .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 made it to the postseason three times with the Red Sox, including one World Series. He hit .272/.322/.407 with two home runs and nine RBIs in 21 career postseason games. In 2018, he started 13 of 14 playoff games for the Red Sox during his World Series run.

Initially, the Royals were looking for the best prospects for Benintendi.

However, the price dropped a bit after it was revealed that Benintendi was not vaccinated against the coronavirus at the time the Royals were headed to Toronto and was therefore unable to enter Canada. The Yankees have one more series in Toronto in the regular season and there is a chance they may have to go to Canada for the playoffs.

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

The Royals spent weeks reviewing 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 to work out a deal with. Even at the bottom tier of the Florida Complex League, the source told the News earlier this month that there are “a lot of players to consider” in a potential deal.

The Royals get right-handed pitcher Beck Way, whom the Yankees selected 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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