Grading the Yankees’ deal for Benintendi — did the favorites just get even better?

  • Sports reporter, Kansas City Star, 2002-09
  • Writer, Baseball, Baseball Prospectus
  • Co-author, Pro Basketball Prospectus
  • Member, Baseball Writers Association of America
  • Member, Professional Basketball Writers Association

The trade: The Yankees acquire LF Andrew Benintendi from the Royals for pitching prospects T.J. Sikkema, Chandler Champlain and Beck Way.

Less than a week before the 2022 trade deadline, the Yankees landed one of the buzziest names on the market in outfielder Andrew Benintendi, a former arch rival with the Boston Red Sox who now lands in the Bronx after a one-and-a-half season stay with the Royals. Kansas City has been out of contention for weeks, and with Benintendi working under an expiring contract, the Royals land a trio of pitching prospects for a player they almost certainly weren’t going to sign after the season.

Let’s grade this thing.

All season, the Yankees have been an outfield bat short, despite an offense that overall has been dazzling at the plate and in the field. The fly in the ointment has been Joey Gallo, who was one of the Yankees’ deadline pickups last season. Gallo’s pull-heavy, power bat seemed like it could be a good fit for the Bronx — but no venue is really a good fit for a swing that so infrequently produces contact. In 138 games as a Yankee, Gallo has produced a .160 average, 25 homers and 191 strikeouts.

On Tuesday night against the Mets, Yankees skipper Aaron Boone sent Gallo to the plate in a key spot, with New York down two with a runner on in the eighth. Against Edwin Diaz, Gallo (predictably) struck out — and while plenty of hitters have struck out recently against Diaz, there was something futile in watching Gallo flail away. A friend texted me the question, “If Diaz faced Gallo 100 times, how many times would he strike out?”

The answer: A lot.

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