By RONALD BLUM
AP Baseball Writer
NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Yankees acquired All-Star outfielder Andrew Benintendi from the Kansas City Royals for three minor league pitchers on Wednesday night in what could be the the first of a flurry of moves ahead of next week’s trade deadline.
Right-handers Chandler Champlain and Beck Way went to the Royals along with left-hander T.J. Sikkema.
Benintendi, a 28-year-old left-handed hitter, was among 10 Royals who missed a four-game series at Toronto from July 14-17 because he was not vaccinated. Benintendi lost $186,813 of the $8.5 million salary he won in an arbitration case against the Royals.
New York believes he is amenable to getting vaccinated. No Yankees missed earlier trips to Toronto this season, and the Yankees have a three-game series there from Sept. 26-28.
Benintendi is hitting .320 with three homers, 39 RBIs and a .788 OPS and won a Gold Glove in left field last season. He hasn’t made an error this season.
Benintendi, who is eligible for free agency after this season, gives the Yankees another outfield option. Giancarlo Stanton is expected to miss at least two-to-three weeks after going on the injured list this week with left Achilles tendinitis, and Joey Gallo is hitting .161 with 103 strikeouts in 230 at-bats.
New York has increasinly used Matt Carpenter in the outfield along with Aaron Judge and Aaron Hicks.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone disputed the notion that the Yankees have too many power hitters in their lineup.
“We’ve got savages in the lineup, and really good hitters. Benitendi’s a great hitter, gets on base at a really high clip, hits from the left side, so, yeah, gives you some balance,” Boone said after Wedesday night’s 3-2 loss at the Mets and just before the trade was announced.
“So if we get him, that’s another really good big league hitter to add to the mix that’s going to lengthen out a lineup and potentially give you that balance you look for. So if we get him, I’ll be excited to write his name in,” he said.
On Wednesday, Benintendi went 1 for 4 in Kansas City’s 4-0 loss to the Angels. On Thursday night, the Royals open a series at Yankee Stadium.
Benintendi has a .261 average with seven homers and 20 RBIs in 30 career games at Yankee Stadium. He finished second to Judge in 2017 AL Rookie of the Year voting and won a World Series title with Boston the following year.
“It will be definitely a big piece to what got going on here … Any time you bring him into this type of culture we got, it’s always a plus and kind of a boost of energy,” Judge said. “Adding a guy like that will definitely give us a little pump up, that’s for sure. And I think he’s going to fit right in.”
Champlain, 23, was a ninth-round draft pick last year and was 2-5 with a 4.30 ERA in 15 starts and one relief appearance at Class A Tampa.
Sikkema, 24, was taken in competitive balance round A of the 2019 draft and was 1-1 with a 2.48 ERA in 10 starts and one relief appearance at Class A Hudson Valley.
Way, 22, was a fourth-round pick two years ago and was 5-5 with a 3.73 ERA in 15 starts at Hudson Valley.
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