Andrew Benintendi won’t get the shot. And that has cost him a shot to come to the Bronx.
The Yankees are likely out on a trade pursuit of the Royals’ All-Star outfielder due to his vaccination status, according to The Post’s Jon Heyman.
Benintendi is one of 10 Royals who is not vaccinated. Kansas City is playing a four-game series in Toronto this weekend against the Blue Jays. And they will basically have to send the Triple-A Omaha Storm Chasers to play it due to Canada’s vaccine mandate any the border.
It make sense why the Yankees were interested in Benintendi. While he only has three home runs this year, he is batting .317 with a .386 OBP. He does have some pop in his bat. He won a Gold Glove last season. He’s making just $8.5 million this year on an expiring deal. And general manager Brian Cashman might have been able to foist hitless wonder Joey Gallo onto the Royals in the deal.
But the Yankees have six more regular season games in Toronto to play. They may not need those games to win the AL East. But they certainly need them to hold off the Astros for home field advantage. And there is the possibility they see the Blue Jays in the ALDS or ALCS. It’s just not worth the risk for them and their fully-vaccinated roster. Or really any contender.
Maybe an NL team could decide the odds of Toronto — currently in freefall — getting to the World Series are minuscule and make the deal. Although it would be the most Mets thing ever if they somehow got Benintendi and then played the Blue Jays in October. But the Yankees and the rest of the AL contenders would be unnecessarily playing with fire.
The report suggest the Yankees just learned about Benintendi’s vaccination status. If so, how? MLB teams aren’t asking about vaccination status in trade talks? They can’t discuss it? Either way, GMs could be walking with landmines at the deadline.
The Blue Jays host two potential sellers — the Angels and Cubs — after the August 2 trade deadline. They’ll also host the Guardians, who could be active, after the deadline as well. The border crossing acid test only works if a team goes to Canada.
If MLB does not an internal record of all unvaccinated players — including minor leaguers — available to all teams, it should provide it at the deadline. Or at least prior to approving all deals. A mess is inevitable otherwise.
James Kratch can be reached at [email protected]