New York Yankees acquire All-Star outfielder Andrew Benintendi from the Kansas City Royals

The New York Yankees made the first of a series of moves before the close next week, acquiring All-Star outfielder Andrew Benintendi from the Kansas City Royals, it was announced Wednesday night.

The Yankees are sending three minor-league pitching prospects to the Royals in exchange for the 28-year-old Benintendi: right-hander Beck Way, right-hander Chandler Champlain and left-hander TJ Sikkema.

Left-hander Benintendi was named to his first career MLB All-Star Game this season. As of Wednesday, he’s hitting a career-best .320 with three home runs and 39 RBIs and a .788 OPS in 93 games this season.

Benintendi, who is eligible for free agency after this season, gives the Yankees another outfield option alongside Aaron Judge and Aaron Hicks.

Giancarlo Stanton, who has played 38 outfield games. He is expected to miss at least two to three weeks after being put on the injured list this week with left Achilles tendonitis. Joey Gallo hits .161 with 103 strikeouts in 230 at-bats, making him a frequent target of fan booms.

New York increasingly used 36-year-old Matt Carpenter in the outfield, where he hadn’t played since 2014.

“Benintendi is a great hitter,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said after Wednesday’s 3-2 loss to the New York Mets and before the trade was announced. “Goes to the base with a really high clip. Hit from the left side, yeah, gives you some balance.”

Last season, Benintendi hit .276 with 17 home runs and 73 RBIs, earning a Gold Glove in his first season with the Royals. He was acquired by Kansas City from the Boston Red Sox in February 2021 in a three-team deal also involving the Mets.

“He’s a really good player,” said Judge. “I had the chance to play him for a number of years when he played in Boston and I saw him do a lot of impressive things. … He’s definitely going to be a big part of what we’ve got going on here.”

The judge added: “I think adding a guy like that would definitely give us a little boost, that’s for sure. And I think he will fit right in there.”

Benintendi has a .261 average with seven homers and 20 RBIs in 30 career games at Yankee Stadium. He finished second to Judge in the 2017 AL Rookie of the Year poll and won a World Series title with Boston the following year.

Benintendi was one of 10 Royals players who did not travel to Toronto for a four-game series with the Blue Jays in mid-July because they did not receive the COVID-19 vaccination. He lost $186,813 of the $8.5 million salary he won in an arbitration case against the royals.

New York believes he is amenable to vaccination. No Yankees have missed previous trips to Toronto this season, and the Yankees have a three-game streak there September 26-28.

“For me, it was a personal choice,” Benintendi said of the vaccine earlier this month. “And I’ll leave it at that.”

Champlain, 23, was a ninth-round draft pick last year and was 2-5 with a 4.30 ERA in 15 starts and a relief appearance at Class A Tampa.

24-year-old Sikkema was drafted into the 2019 Draft’s competitive Record Round A and was 1-1 with a 2.48 ERA in 10 starts and a Hudson Valley relief appearance in Class A.

Way, 22, was a fourth-round pick two years ago and was 5-5 with a 3.73 ERA in 15 starts in the Hudson Valley.

The Royals open a series at Yankee Stadium on Thursday night.

ESPN’s Marly Rivera and The Associated Press contributed to this report. New York Yankees acquire All-Star outfielder Andrew Benintendi from the Kansas City Royals

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