What Andrew Benintendi did after trading ex-royal pals

What Andrew Benintendi did after trading ex-royal pals

Andrew Benintendi changed teams but not hotels. Still staying with the Royals on Friday, the outfielder hung out with his suddenly ex-teammates after his new club, the Yankees, beat them on Thursday.

The scene was never stranger than in the moments immediately after the baseball world learned that Benintendi had been traded to the Yankees on Wednesday night, on the eve of the two clubs beginning a series in the Bronx. He and a few teammates had agreed to meet in a room to play cards, but they retired to their individual rooms first. Their phones started buzzing.

“Benny told us how it all went,” said Kansas City utility Hunter Dozier before the Yankees beat the Royals 11-5 in the Bronx on Friday. “Then we just hung out and played cards as usual.”

According to Benintendi’s former team, the Yankees struck gold when they signed an outfielder with excellent touch skills in the middle of one of his best seasons.

Andrew Benintendi hits an RBI single in the eighth inning of the Yankees' 11-5 comeback win over the Royals.
Andrew Benintendi hits an RBI single in the eighth inning of the Yankees’ 11-5 comeback win over the Royals.
Jason scenes

The 28-year-old, who had an RBI on an infield single in the Yankees’ eighth inning and finished 1-3 with a walk on Friday, hit .320 and posted a .387 percentage on base in 93 games with Kansas City.

“We joked every day that Benny was going to get at least two punches and a walk,” Dozier said of his teammate in a season and a half. “He was just very consistent this year. Find hits, get walks, play really good defense. It was impressive to see him play.”

One downside for the Yankees is Benintendi’s unvaccinated status, which kept him from playing a series in Toronto earlier this season. The left-hander, who essentially replaces Joey Gallo, said Thursday he remains “open-minded” about the vaccine. The Yankees travel to Toronto for a series in September, and a postseason series against the Blue Jays is a possibility.

Another disadvantage is Benintendi’s lack of power. He hit three home runs this season before the trade, a year after missing 17.

According to Statcast, if he played all his games in the Bronx this year, his home run would double to six overall.

“He’s a guy who can do anything,” said Royals second baseman and right fielder Whit Merrifield. “I know his power numbers aren’t there, but he is [was] Playing in the biggest, toughest park to hit a home run in, baseball.

“He can sprint, he can steal bases [four with the Royals], he can hit average, he can hit hard. You have a complete, well-rounded hitter, defender and just plain great teammate. It’s a slam dunk for any team that went out and caught him.”

Benintendi spent his first five major league seasons with the Red Sox, with whom he won the 2018 World Series in four games.

In 21 career playoff games, Benintendi has a .729 OPS.

“The experience of being in that situation helps,” said Royals outfielder Michael A. Taylor, who won the 2019 World Series with the Nationals. “He knows what to expect on and off the field because there’s a lot of media and things like that in the playoffs and the World Series.”

Some who know Benintendi best agreed that he is both a relaxed and easy-going person off the field and a tenacious competitor.

“He’s a guy who fits into any clubhouse because he works hard. He is calm. He’s a great guy.”

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