The New York Yankees made the first notable move prior to the Aug. 2 trade deadline by acquiring All-Star outfielder Andrew Benintendi from the Kansas City Royals.
It was announced late Wednesday night that the Yankees were sending minor league pitchers Chandler Champlain, T.J. Sikkema and Beck Way to Kansas City for Benintendi.
The Bronx Bombers know Benintendi well from his five-year tenure with the Boston Red Sox from 2016 to 2020. He was named to his first All-Star team this season and is currently hitting .320/.387/.398 with three homers and 39 RBI in 93 games.
In the wake of the move, here are three instant reactions to what this means for the Yankees and the rest of Major League Baseball ahead of the trade deadline.
Joey Gallo's Yankees Tenure Is Likely Over
Yankees fans have understandably been frustrated by the performance of Joey Gallo since he was acquired from the Texas Rangers in July 2021. The two-time All-Star has a .160/.293/.371 slash line with 25 homers and 46 RBI in 418 at-bats with the team dating back to last season.
However, Yankees manager Aaron Boone has continued to play Gallo in the starting lineup, mostly in left field, fairly regularly. He has appeared in 80 games this season (64 starts).
The addition of Benintendi, whose primary position happens to be left field, means that Boone can relegate Gallo to the bench for the remainder of the season.
The 28-year-old Gallo still has massive power potential and can be used in a pinch-hitting role late in games, but his overall output got to a point where it was impossible for a team with World Series aspirations to keep rolling him out every game hoping for a different result.
There's also the possibility that Yankees general manager Brian Cashman shops Gallo around before Tuesday's deadline. However, it seems unlikely he'll find any takers given Gallo's play and that he is still owed around $4 million for the rest of the season.
New York could potentially eat most of Gallo's salary to facilitate a deal. If that doesn't happen, it wouldn't be a surprise if he gets designated for assignment as soon as next week.
Yankees Get Stanton Insurance
While the primary impetus for Cashman acquiring Benintendi was likely to replace Gallo, Benintendi also provides them with some insurance in the wake of Giancarlo Stanton's latest injury.
The Yankees announced Tuesday that Stanton was placed on the 10-day injured list with Achilles tendinitis.
In the announcement, Boone noted Stanton requested an MRI after waking up "really sore getting around and doing some things." He added the team hopes and believes "it's a minor thing," but Stanton's injury history does make this situation worth monitoring.
Stanton, who was named MVP of the 2022 All-Star Game, had a stint on the injured list earlier this season with a strained calf. He only missed 10 games before returning June 4, but the five-time All-Star has missed at least 23 games in each of the previous three seasons.
Benintendi is a very different player than Stanton, as his game is predicated on contact and a high batting average. Stanton is only hitting .228 this season, but he's slugging .498 with 24 homers in 289 at-bats.
The best version of this Yankees lineup will have Benintendi and Stanton playing together, but they won't need to rush Stanton back now.
Are the Yankees Out on Juan Soto?
There might be an air of disappointment hovering over Yankees fans after adding Benintendi because he's not Juan Soto.
ESPN's Jeff Passan recently said on an episode of ESPN Daily that New York has the prospects to make a competitive offer to the Washington Nationals for the 23-year-old superstar.
Any potential offer from the Yankees for Soto would presumably have to include shortstop Anthony Volpe, as the 21-year-old is the No. 7 overall prospect in baseball, per MLB.com.
There have been rumblings that the St. Louis Cardinals are emerging as a front-runner in the Soto sweepstakes.
Per Jeff Jones of the Belleville News-Democrat, the Cardinals' recent offer to Washington was built around 22-year-old second baseman Nolan Gorman and they would be willing to take on Patrick Corbin's contract to facilitate a deal.
It's still unclear how serious the Nationals are about potentially trading Soto during the season.
Passan noted earlier this week that executives around MLB are "unsure" about the sense of urgency from Washington general manager Mike Rizzo.
It seems unlikely this trade for Benintendi would prevent Cashman from going after Soto if he feels there is a real opportunity to get him. Benintendi can be a free agent at the end of this season; Soto is under team control through the 2024 season.
One potential scenario that the Yankees could be rooting for is Soto doesn't get traded by Tuesday's 6 p.m. ET deadline. That would serve two purposes, with the first one being it means he also didn't get moved to another team hoping to win the World Series this year.
But from a long-term perspective, it would allow Cashman to come back to Soto during the offseason. Judge's free agency is looming over the Yankees after this season, and he already turned down a seven-year, $213.5 million offer in spring training.
Judge's asking price isn't going to go down, as he's in the midst of an MVP-caliber season. His pending free agency will be fascinating because he's an elite player right now, but he will also turn 31 in April.
Rather than commit, say, seven or eight years to a 31-year-old who missed a total of 142 games from 2018 to 2020, the Yankees could make an aggressive play to add Soto while he has two years of team control remaining and hope to sign him to a long-term deal before he hits free agency after his age-25 season.