Yankees' Benintendi Deal Signals Bryan Reynolds Remaining a Pirate

Photo credit: Jeff Dean/AP Photo

With the New York Yankees acquiring Andrew Benintendi, it takes a Bryan Reynolds suitor off the table in a deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

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Last night it was announced that the New York Yankees acquired outfielder Andrew Benintendi from the Kansas City Royals in exchange for pitching prospects Chandler Champlain, Beck Way, and TJ Sikkema.  Benintendi was on an expiring contract, making him useless to the Royals after the deadline.  The Yankees also desperately needed another outfielder with Giancarlo Stanton hitting the Injured List again, and the trends being that he and teammate, Aaron Judge, could always find their way on the IL in the postseason.

This trade actually has a substantial impact on the Pittsburgh Pirates and Pittsburgh fans of Bryan Reynolds.  It has been known that the Yankees would be in the market for an outfielder when the trade deadline neared, and it had been widely reported the Yankees were interested in Reynolds.  The Yankees also were one of few teams in a position to win the World Series while also having a farm system that could meet the high ask in return for Reynolds.  These sorts of rumors have been swirling around since before this 2022 season even started.

The rumors were intensified when the Yankees came to town earlier this month.  Twitter was flooded with "he's gonna look great in pinstripes" every time Reynolds did anything of substance in that series at PNC Park.  There was a particularly obnoxious Yankee fan behind me that actually stood and applauded Reynolds' diving catch in centerfield while yelling, "he's going to be doing those things for us in a month."  I hated the guy, but I'm too old to get into stadium shouting matches like I used to.  

Anyways, the Yankees acquiring an outfielder not named Reynolds goes a long way in Reynolds remaining a Pittsburgh Pirate passed the August 2nd deadline.  It also appears that the Yankees were willing to part with pitching prospects which those in the know have noted is the Pirates most needed commodity at the moment.  While it does help that Pirate starters Mitch Keller and JT Brubaker are performing at their career best as of late, Jose Quintana is almost certainly going to be traded by next Tuesday, and the farm system isn't as flush with arms as it is position players.  

Reynolds could most certainly still be moved to a different team looking for a star center fielder.  However, this is one less suitor on the table that would be interested in Reynolds while also possessing the huge ask GM Ben Cherington is setting in a Reynolds deal.  

It also signals that the ask for Reynolds is very high because there was one more obstacle in a Benintendi deal that applies specifically to the New York Yankees.  It was widely known that Andrew Benintendi is not vaccinated against Covid-19.  Keep all your opinions to yourself, because in this case let's just focus on the baseball consequences of that.  

Canada still does not allow players to play who are not vaccinated.  Benintendi is now joining a division with the Toronto Blue Jays.  The Yankees play what could be a crucial series in Toronto at the end of the September.  There is also a greater chance of the Yankees playing postseason baseball in Toronto than the Royals.  So while Benintendi has said he will get the vaccine now, it was one more obstacle in a Benintendi deal that may not have been there in a Reynolds deal. (I do not know the vaccination status of Bryan Reynolds)

This tells me that if the Yankees were willing to deal with this additional obstacle, the ask for Reynolds was simply too high.  If it was too high for the Yankees, I'm hoping it is too high for any other team looking to acquire him.  I am on the side of not moving Reynolds at this deadline with still 3+ years of control on his contract.  I believe the Benintendi deal not only takes a suitor off the board, but it signals that Reynolds will remain a Pirate through this season's deadline.