Report: KC Royals Andrew Benintendi Market Unaffected by Vaccination Status
The 2022 MLB trade deadline is fast approaching and in the next two weeks, several Kansas City Royals members could join new teams as a result. Left fielder Andrew Benintendi is arguably the first name on this list, and the All-Star trade market has been a hot topic of discussion in recent days.
Prior to Kansas City’s trip north of the border to face the Toronto Blue Jays, many believed Benintendi would eventually be traded. Then no less than 10 players were put on the shortlist as they weren’t vaccinated against COVID-19. Benintendi was one of them, raising legitimate questions about his likelihood of being traded to an American League club in the East and thereafter causing New York Yankees relief in their pursuit of him.*
*Editor’s note: Shortly after the publication of this article, a ratio of fine sand indicated that the Yankees are back on Benintendi and have emerged as “serious suitors” for him.
After debating whether or not he would get the vaccine for the chance to play on a playoff contender, shelve, the outlook for the Benintendi market took a positive turn on Friday afternoon. By Mark Feinsand of MLB Network, various teams are expressing interest in making a move for the 28-year-old who just turned 28. The AL East is even back in the game:
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It appears that Andrew Benintendi’s vaccination status has no impact on his commercial market. According to sources, several teams – including some from the AL East – are interested in acquiring the All-Star outfielder from the Royals.
This is great news for the Royals as Benintendi’s move makes perfect sense in the world. He will be a free agent this offseason, and reports focused on his side and Kansas City discussing a possible contract extension have been virtually non-existent. Currently enjoying one of the best years of his career, Benintendi is expected to step out of the Royals’ range this winter. Trading it now secures at least some come back rather than let him go for nothing, and the fact that multiple teams are interested makes things even better.
In 88 games heading into Saturday’s game, Benintendi is posting career bests in batting average (.319), OBP (.389), K% (13.9) and wRC+ (128). He’s also coming off a Gold Glove winning campaign in left field and is capable of holding that spot at any big league ballpark. The only downside of acquiring Benintendi is that it does not produce from a potency perspective. Along with hitting just three home runs all year, his 0.083 ISO is the lowest all-season number he’s had in his career by far. That said, he is on course to achieve almost the same number of doubles this year as he did in 2021.
A Benintendi return is a far cry from including a top-100 prospect, although the addition of a relief pitcher such as Scott Barlow or Josh Staumont could potentially change that. Kansas City has plenty to trade this year as its rebuild looks set to continue despite starting the 2022 campaign with high expectations. Benintendi can still be part of this rebuild in some way, but it will likely be through trade. If Feinsand’s report is any indication, those odds aren’t as bad as some might think.