Late Wednesday night, the New York Yankees struck the first major deal ahead of the Aug. 2 trade deadline and acquired outfielder Andrew Benintendi from the Kansas City Royals. Here we go.
The Los Angeles Dodgers typically don’t look around the league and base their moves off of what’s going on, but this time around it might be a little bit different. The Yankees, despite a recent slide, still have the most wins in MLB and are the Dodgers’ clear competition should LA make it to the World Series.
Additionally, the Dodgers were reportedly in on Benintendi given their need for a left fielder (as well as overall positional depth) with Chris Taylor on the shelf. But don’t fear, Trayce Thompson is here! LA might be content rolling with him getting the majority of reps there in the meantime before Taylor returns (then Thompson will remain a key depth piece).
If Andrew Friedman was checking in on Benintendi, though, it’s obvious the Dodgers and Yankees have similar needs as the deadline approaches, which could very well create an arms race of sorts over the next few days.
Both teams are reportedly in on Luis Castillo and Juan Soto, too. As for other ancillary pieces, it’s likely they’re both speaking with the Pirates, Marlins and Tigers, all of whom are in mega sell mode.
The Yankees beat the Dodgers for Andrew Benintendi … so what’s next?
It’s unclear what the Dodgers offered to the Royals (or if they offered anything), but the Yankees landing Benintendi with their No. 19 and No. 21 prospects (as well as a lottery ticket in a Single-A arm) indicates one of two things: the Dodgers weren’t aggressive enough, or KC viewed New York’s system to be deeper than LA’s.
Both of those sentiments are problematic for the Dodgers if they plan to make big-time acquisitions while competing with the Bombers for the same players. Then again, the Dodgers’ involvement could have been a smokescreen to drive the price up for the Yankees if LA is focused more on adding Soto (one can assume the Yankees’ acquisition of Benintendi calmed their pursuit of the Nationals’ star).
Either way, this is shaping up to be what feels like a battle of the behemoths: two of the best rosters in the league with two of the deepest farm systems.
The Dodgers and Yankees are also seeking bullpen help, and neither like to spend on expensive pieces, instead preferring to plunder untapped talent at a cheaper price and using their adept coaching staffs to turn them into viable contributors. Another area at the deadline where the two front offices might be doing battle.
Buckle up, baby.