Needing a Bat, the Yankees Trade for Andrew Benintendi

With Giancarlo Stanton injured, Benintendi, a high-contact hitter, will fill an immediate gap. His vaccination status could be an issue down the road.

After weeks of speculation, Andrew Benintendi is heading to the Bronx.

The Yankees acquired Benintendi, a left fielder, from Kansas City on Wednesday night, the team announced shortly after a 3-2 loss to the Mets in Queens.

The deal, which was first reported by Jack Curry of the YES Network, gives the Yankees a high-contact batter as a reinforcement in the outfield in exchange for three pitching prospects: the right-handers Chandler Champlain and Beck Way and the lefty T.J. Sikkema.

It also gives the team a potential headache down the road if Benintendi chooses to remain unvaccinated against Covid-19, which would make him ineligible for games in Toronto.

Benintendi, 28, was an All-Star for the Royals this season. He is hitting .320 with a .387 on-base percentage, three home runs and 39 R.B.I. 

His arrival comes a day after the Yankees placed Giancarlo Stanton on the injured list with tendinitis in his left Achilles and in the middle of a tough year for Joey Gallo, whose strikeout-heavy approach has not been balanced out with his typical barrage of home runs and walks.

Gallo’s .161 average is barely more than half of Benintendi’s, while both players are above-average fielders. But there is also a wide gap in power: Benintendi, who has hit as many as 20 home runs in a season in the past, has adjusted his approach to emphasize contact. His .399 slugging percentage would be his worst mark in a full season.

“Benintendi’s a great hitter. Gets on base at a really high clip, hits from the left side, so yeah, gives you some balance,” Yankees Manager Aaron Boone told reporters just before the Yankees announced the trade.