How Bryce Harper’s injury could hurt Yankees at trade deadline
Whether you’re a Joey Gallo fan or not, almost all reasonable New York Yankees fans can agree that the team needs to upgrade over the slugger at the trade deadline.
Various solutions are expected to be available and the Yankees have the necessary assets to swing almost any deal — from landing a superstar to a replacement-level outfielder. However, as each day passes, the market competition gets more intense.
Now, with the Philadelphia Phillies expected to be without Bryce Harper for close to two months after he suffered a broken thumb, they’re in the market for the exact type of player the Yankees are looking for.
More specifically, they could be eyeing the exact target the Yankees have been rumored to be in on for weeks now.
Kansas City Royals slugger Andrew Benintendi is believed to be among those available at this year’s trade deadline, and he’d be a perfect fit for the Yankees in left field.
But the Phillies possess the more urgent need and they have the better connection with Dave Dombrowski in their front office (the two were together in Boston when the Red Sox won the 2018 World Series).
Phillies could steal Andrew Benintendi from Yankees at trade deadline
Initially, there was worry the Blue Jays could swipe Benintendi from the Yanks, but the Phillies and Dombrowski, who is wildly aggressive with trading top prospects, might be the most prominent threat at the moment.
The only issue with the Phillies here is that they’ll have an overflow of outfielders and not much wiggle room with the DH spot, since Nick Castellanos is entrenched there to compensate for his poor defense. Do the Phillies figure out a way to jettison Odubel Herrera or Mickey Moniak in this situation? Who plays right field? Schwarber and Benintendi have only played left all year, and neither have played right field ever.
The Yankees have the clearer fit because Benintendi can be the everyday left fielder and get reps at DH, should the Bombers go with an Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Hicks outfield on certain days.
The only difference here is that the Phillies will be desperate for offense following Harper’s loss, and that might take precedent over who can play where in the outfield (as it did in the offseason). Benintendi is hitting .303 with a 116 OPS+ this season and would greatly benefit from being surrounded by superior hitters in the Phillies’ lineup.
Maybe this allows the Yankees to avoid a bidding war and chase one of their secondary options? Regardless of the outcome, almost anybody would be better than Gallo right now.
The Yankees don’t need the best option on the market right now, because even a slight improvement over Gallo’s production would make them that much better.