Addressing the Needs: Andrew Benintendi?
Through 1/4th of the season the Yankees are playing great. However, there are concerns for some positions. Are fixes available now?
Who is Andrew Benintendi?
Originally drafted out of Madeira High School (Cincinnati, OH) by the Cincinnati Reds in the 31st round of the 2013 MLB First Year Player Draft, Benintendi opted instead to go to the University of Arkansas. He spent two years playing college ball- including hitting to a 1.205 OPS in his second year (31st highest in all of college ball)- and was drafted again, though this time as the 7th overall pick by the Boston Red Sox in the 2015 MLB FYPD.
After a great season in college, Benintendi was challenged quick by the Boston Red Sox, moving him right from signing to the Lowell Spinners (Class A Short Season) and then quickly again to the Greenville Drive (Class A). He did well at both levels- including a 1.011 OPS in Greenville- that for 2016 he was immediately placed with the Salem Red Sox (Class A-Advanced) and then the Portland Sea Dogs (Double A) by midseason. To call it a fast track is to undersell it, because...
On August 2nd, 2016 Andrew Benintendi made his MLB debut, just 421 days after getting drafted. That's incredibly quick for a player who was younger (21) than most kids still playing college ball. He would never look back either (not even for a rehab stint!). He spent the next 5 years with the Red Sox (2016-2020) and has spent the last two with the Kansas City Royals (2021-2022)
Since breaking into the MLB in 2016, Benintendi has hit to a career .277/.350/.436 (.786 OPS/109 OPS+).
So far in 2022, he is hitting to a .327/.393/.425 (.818 OPS/139 OPS+) extended triple-slash.
Why the Yankees Could/Should Get Him:
The Kansas City Royals are not doing well. They're currently playing to a 14-28 record (.333 WP) and are in 5th place in the American League Central. They have a less than 0.1% chance to make the postseason.
Andrew Benintendi is one of the Royals more valuable pieces to move at +4.2 MTV. He also has just this year under contract, so unless he's a part of their long-term plans (which he could be, as he's just 27 years old), he could be an ample player to move to get some value back from.
For the Yankees, some similar players of value are: Beck Way (+4.6 MTV; Yankees #21 prospect), Kyle Higashioka (+4.3 MTV), and Randy Vazquez (+4.1 MTV; unranked prospect).
Lots and lots of deals could be made for Benintendi.
Why the Yankees Couldn't/Shouldn't Get Him:
The Royals really have no reason not to want to shop Benintendi around. I can't see a team picking him up to give him a major contract extension (a la Francisco Lindor two years ago), so if he's a potential long-term piece he should be available again in free agency.
The problem here comes on the Yankees end. Do they really need a true left fielder? Well, if they are willing to move on from Joey Gallo (which they should!) then yes. Benintendi hits for a good average (unlike Gallo), is playing good defense (unlike Gallo), and has already played in the AL East.
Ethan's Major Take:
If the option was Benintendi or Gallo, I take Benintendi 10 times out of 10. However, it's not a simple pick-or-choose, because the Yankees need to get rid of Gallo. If they can, Benintendi should be the target to get to replace him.
Could Gallo be traded? At this point, you'd have to find a heavily analytic team that would be willing to take a shot on him. There are a lot of them in the MLB, so the Yankees should be able to find a place for him. Let's just get it done now.