The 2022 MLB Trade Deadline is less than a month away, and there’s no doubt that the Kansas City Royals are going to be sellers. One player who is all but a lock to be dealt is outfielder Andrew Benintendi, and the AL-favored New York Yankees could be a landing spot as the team is seeking an upgrade in the outfield. Let’s see how the teams are coming for your MLB Betting Odds.
Andrew Benintendi Near Lock To Be Traded
While Aaron Judge is at the forefront of the AL MVP discussion thus far, fellow outfielders Joey Gallo and Aaron Hicks have struggled badly in 2022. Gallo at present is batting .165/.276/.330 and registered a hit since June 17. Hicks, meantime, has enjoyed some clutch moments this season, but his overall line of .218/.338/.284 isn’t adequate. Elsewhere, Marwin Gonzalez has put up solid numbers, but his defensive versatility means he’s best deployed in a super-utility role.
Benintendi will be a free agent after this season so there’s no reason for the Royals to keep him. He’s striking out at a career-low 14.2% clip and is walking at a 9.4% rate to boot. Benintendi’s power hasn’t been there this season but other than that, the 2021 Gold Glove winner has been quite good.
As of this writing, Benintendi has reached safely multiple times in six straight games—including 5 multi-hit efforts—for the fifth time in his career and first time since a six-game streak from June 18-24, 2019. He’s the second Royal with such a streak this year, following Whit Merrifield’s six straight games from June 17-22. Benintendi has hit safely in 13 of his last 17 games since June 14—slashing .344/.411/.422 with 8 walks, tying for 6th in the AL in batting avg. during that stretch.
Among American League leaders this season, he ranks tied for 2nd in multi-hit games (27), 4th in hits (88) and 7th in batting average (.308). He’s reached base safely in 45 of his last 50 games since May 10, slashing .297/.373/.391 (57-for-192) with 13 extra-base hits, 24 walks and 17 RBI. The Royals have gone 16-11 in 27 games in which Benintendi has tallied multiple hits, compared to their 13-36 record when he records 1 or no hits.
The Royals are asking for a lot for Benintendi They’ll probably get two good prospects. They want young position players and the Yankees have enough to get a deal done and not give up the guys that they really want to keep — Anthony Volpe, Jasson Dominguez, probably Austin Wells. Because of his contract status, a Benintendi trade is unlikely to net Kansas City a crazy return if he’s the only piece involved.
Another AL East playoff contender, the Toronto Blue Jays, also are reportedly looking at him. While a bullpen arm is the Blue Jays’ most pressing need, they also could benefit from adding a left-handed outfield bat, as right fielder Teoscar Hernandez is struggling right-handers compared to hitting better than .300 against left-handers.
A left-handed bat his been on the Blue Jays wishlist since last offseason, though to date the only left-handed hitters to grace the Jays lineup this season with some regularity have been Cavan Biggio, backup catcher Zack Collins, and light-hitting outfielder Raimel Tapia.
The Royals and Jays could be natural trade partners for more than just Benintendi with Kansas City rostering several effective back-end relievers. Though the Royals’ bullpen, as a unit, hasn’t been very effective, 29-year-old Scott Barlow and 28-year-old Josh Staumont are two of the better swing-and-miss arms in baseball.
The Philadelphia Phillies also have been mentioned as they will be without star outfielder Bryce Harper for perhaps eight weeks following thumb surgery. Adding Benintendi to the roster would allow Kyle Schwarber and Nick Castellanos, both subpar defenders, to split time in the designated hitter role. Benintendi has spent the bulk of his career in left (625 games) with a smattering of centerfield (71) as well, but never right field. Benintendi won a World Series title in Boston with current Phillies GM Dave Dombrowski. The Sox drafted Benintendi in 2015, less than two months before hiring Dombrowski to head their front office.
The MLB Trade Deadline used to be the end of July but it’s Aug. 2 this year because the season got started a bit late.