It has been a disappointing season thus far for the Kansas City Royals. They currently hold a 35-53 record on the year, and sit at the bottom of the American League Central division.
There have been very few bright spots to the Royals’ season thus far, but veteran outfielder Andrew Benintendi has certainly been one of them.
Benintendi is hitting .317/.386/.401 for Kansas City this year, and will be representing the organization in the 2022 MLB All-Star game next week.
The team has been surrounded by controversy this week when it was announced that ten players would not be making the trip to Toronto this week, with their vaccination status not allowing them into Canada. That list was headlined by Benintendi. He released a statement regarding the matter (relayed by Alec Lewis of The Athletic), saying he didn’t get the vaccine as “a personal choice”.
Andrew Benintendi provided a statement: "For me, it was a personal decision. And I'm going to leave it at that."
— Alec Lewis (@alec_lewis) July 13, 2022
It appears that teams have taken notice of this update on Benintendi’s vaccination status. Jon Heyman of The New York Post and MLB Network reported that the New York Yankees, who were rumored to potentially be interested in trading for Benintendi, are now “unlikely” to continue their pursuit of the 28-year-old outfielder.
Yankees are unlikely to continue pursuit of Andrew Benintendi since he is unvaccinated. NYY has 6 games left in Toronto and could meet Jays in playoffs. Yanks are the one team to send their complete roster to play in Toronto.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) July 14, 2022
As Heyman mentions, the Yankees have notably been the only team that has been able to send their complete roster to Toronto despite Canada’s vaccine mandates this season. And the Yankees’ decision to back off of pursuing Benintendi is isn’t exactly shocking, considering the Blue Jays are in their division; they’ll play six more regular-season road games in Toronto this year, and could potentially face the Jays in a playoff matchup as well.
It looks like if Benintendi is going to be traded from Kansas City, the team will need to look beyond the Yankees going forward. to find a suitor moving forward.
[Jon Heyman on Twitter; photo from Denny Medley/USA Today Sports]