The New York Yankees acquired All-Star outfielder Andrew Benintendi from the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday in exchange for a trio of minor-league pitchers.
With that, the Bronx Bombers added a major piece to the lineup en route to their World Series quest, which just got a little more attainable following the addition.
At the moment, the Yankees sport +380 odds ($100 bet to profit $380) to take the World Series, per DraftKings Sportsbook. Those odds are best in the American League and second-best in baseball behind the Los Angeles Dodgers.
However, the move certainly does not vault the Yankees into favorite status, and the team has plenty of questions that need to be addressed. Simply put, all is not well in the Bronx right now even though the 66-33 Yankees sit with the American League's best record.
New York is 8-12 in its last 20 games, including a home series loss to the last-place Cincinnati Reds and a pair of two-game sweep defeats to the Houston Astros and New York Mets.
The sluggish stretch put a greater spotlight on the team's lineup, starting rotation and bullpen woes, but adding Benintendi goes a long way toward solving one of those problems. He's hitting .320 with three home runs, 39 RBI and a .785 OPS. His batting average is now the best on the Yanks.
That's a perfect fit for the Yankees, though, as they sport plenty of power already and simply need more guys to get on base for the team's sluggers (e.g. Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, etc.). It also helps that Benintendi is a tremendous outfielder who won the Gold Glove last year.
The addition of Benintendi would presumably mean that Joey Gallo, who is hitting just .161 and he has nearly three times as many strikeouts (111) as hits (37), will be making his way to the bench or out of town at this juncture. At his best, Gallo sports prodigious power that has enabled him to hit 38 or more home runs in a season three times, but a change of scenery might be best for both sides at this point.
Overall, this is a big win for the lineup, but the team's pitching depth still leaves a ton of question marks.
In the starting rotation, it's unclear who the Yankees can trust in October right now outside the All-Star duo of Gerrit Cole and Nestor Cortes.
Jordan Montgomery (4.97 ERA last seven starts) and Jameson Taillon (6.09 ERA last nine starts) simply have not fared well recently. Luis Severino (3.45 ERA) is on the IL with a low-grade lat strain, and it's unclear when he will return right now.
New York could certainly use another starter to give the team another option here, and the team has been connected to a pair of talented right-handers in the Cincinnati Reds' Luis Castillo and the Oakland Athletics' Frankie Montas, per ESPN's Jeff Passan (among others). Adding one of them would go a long way toward the Yankees' World Series hopes.
However, the Yankees still need bullpen help, which has been obvious with a handful of late-inning losses to the Houston Astros, Baltimore Orioles and New York Mets of late.
Ex-closer Aroldis Chapman (5.48 ERA) and Jonathan Loaisiga (7.06 ERA) have struggled mightily this year, although they have fared better of late.
The Yankees do have a quintet of relievers with sub-three ERA, but can they be trusted in October?
Joel Sherman of the New York Post provided his take: "Albert Abreu, Lucas Luetge, Ron Marinaccio, Wandy Peralta and Clarke Schmidt reside between intriguing and insufficient."
It's certainly possible one (or a few) of those arms becomes an asset in the fall, but right now, it's unclear. Adding more proven relievers would be a welcome sight. The Yanks are notably interested in a reunion with ex-Bronx Bomber and current Chicago Cub David Robertson, per Ken Davidoff of the New York Post.
In sum, adding Benintendi helps the Yankees' World Series cause, but they still need more help to overcome their pesky rivals in the Houston Astros, who have won the AL pennant three times since 2017. The league-best Dodgers look like the MLB powerhouse once again, and the Mets are hitting their stride.
All of these teams could prevent the Yanks from winning their 28th title, but if New York lands a solid starter and a bullpen arm or two, it could very well find itself as the clear World Series favorite heading down the stretch.