Aaron Judge Says Andrew Benintendi Will Give Yankees 'Real Pump Up' After Trade

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVJuly 28, 2022

Kansas City Royals' Andrew Benintendi hits a single against the Detroit Tigers during the first inning of a baseball game, Tuesday, July 12, 2022, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Reed Hoffmann)
Andrew Benintendi (AP Photo/Reed Hoffmann)

New York Yankees superstar Aaron Judge celebrated the arrival of outfielder Andrew Benintendi in a deal with the Kansas City Royals ahead of Tuesday's MLB trade deadline.

The Yankees announced they acquired Benintendi, a 2022 All-Star, for three pitching prospects—Chandler Champlain, T.J. Sikkema and Beck Way—after Wednesday's 3-2 loss to the New York Mets.

"Man, he's a really good player," Judge told reporters. "I've had a chance to play against him for quite a few years when he was playing over in Boston, and I've seen him do a lot of impressive things. It'll definitely be a big piece to what we've got going on here."

He added: "It will give us a real pump up for sure."

Benintendi is basically the antithesis of Joey Gallo, the much-maligned Yanks outfielder who's posted an unsightly .160 batting average since joining the club before last year's trade deadline.

The 28-year-old Ohio native can't match Gallo's pop with just three home runs in 93 appearances this season, but he gets on base at a high rate (.387 OBP) and plays solid defense, capturing a Gold Glove Award last season.

New York leads MLB with 168 homers in 2022, 14 more than the second-place Atlanta Braves, so losing a bit of power in favor of a more consistent hitter should benefit the lineup.

"He's obviously a really good player having an All-Star season," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. "He has a track record of success with the Red Sox in their championship run and put together a really good year with the Royals."

Benintendi started his career with five years as a member of the Red Sox before getting traded to the Royals ahead of the 2021 campaign. His career slash line stands at .280/.352/.432 with 71 home runs and 65 stolen bases across 712 games.

The best spot for him in the Yanks lineup may be the No. 2 slot behind infielder DJ LeMahieu (.386 OBP), which would create a lot of RBI opportunities for Judge, Giancarlo Stanton (currently on the IL with an Achilles injury) and Anthony Rizzo when the team is at full strength.

Judge has built an MVP case from the No. 2 spot, however, so Boone and Co. may be hesitant to shift him down in the order. If that's the case, Benintendi will probably hit fifth or sixth.

Meanwhile, his arrival to Yankee Stadium could lead to Gallo's departure before next week's trade deadline.

Randy Miller of NJ Advance Media reported a source said Gallo is "hoping" for a trade to the San Diego Padres, whose front office is run by general manager A.J. Preller, who worked as a Texas Rangers executive when the club selected Gallo in the 2012 draft.

"He's waiting for something to happen," the source told Miller about Gallo's mindset.

The Yankees return to action Thursday night as they coincidentally open a four-game home series against the Royals.