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The Royals Had an Anticlimactic End to the Andrew Benintendi Era

The Royals' trade of Benintendi netted an underwhelming return, and there's clear logic as to how.

Trying to scout out a question-and-answer panel on who won the Andrew Benintendi trade between the New York Yankees and the Kansas City Royals is a waste of precious time. Instead, let's use logic and common sense to analyze the trade that went down yesterday.

The Royals traded Benintendi for three Single-A pitchers (T.J. Sikkema, Beck Way and Chandler Champlain), all 22 years or older with very similar pitch mixes. The Yankees had seven pitching prospects ahead of Sikkema in their top-30 rankings, nine ahead of Way, and Champlain wasn't even ranked. In short, the Yankees got to keep at least seven different pitchers more likely to have success in the league than the Royals' new arms in return for a top-five trade asset in baseball.

In 2015, the Royals swung two huge trades to upgrade their team for a World Series push and gave up two levels of prospects in the process.

When they traded for Johnny Cueto from the Cincinnati Reds, Kansas City shipped off Brandon Finnegan, John Lamb and Cody Reed. Finnegan may have been a top-five prospect, but it was because of what he did in the 2014 postseason and not because of the 7.07 ERA he was sporting in Omaha. The Reds gave up their ace for absolutely nothing, and that failure of a trade set them back an extra five years.

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Meanwhile, the Oakland Athletics (for veteran utility man Ben Zobrist) managed to pull down Sean Manaea, the Royals' second-ranked prospect in 2015 who was actually having success in the minors. Why could Oakland demand that Kansas City give up its second-ranked prospect for a rental in Zobrist? Because the Royals' only option at second base was Omar Infante, who fans tried to vote to the All-Star Game as a practical joke. If the A's could get the Royals' top pitching prospect for a veteran rental, why couldn't the Royals get the same from the Yankees?

One of those teams was aggressive in their demands and managed to get a far better prospect than the team that was just willing to take on more bulk in the hopes that one of the prospects works out. The Royals needed as close to a guaranteed starter next season as possible and instead, they got three arms who maybe will crack the bullpen next season in September when the team is 20-plus games out of first place in the American League Central.

The only real weakness the Yankees had in their lineup was their outfield depth, relying on Aaron Hicks and Joey Gallo to fill that third spot. The Royals could've gotten a top-10 prospect and should've asked for a top-five prospect but instead, they pulled the pin a week early so they could get three low-level pitchers with limited upside. This type of botch job really makes you wonder how they flipped a compensation pick in the 2022 MLB Draft to the Atlanta Braves in exchange for their top-ranked prospect.

Even if you like Sikkema, who went to college at the University of Missouri and is having an excellent season, you still can't deny that better left-hand pitching prospects were on the table. Ken Waldichuk is having as good of a season as Sikkema, only in Triple-A instead of Single-A, and Brock Selvidge is as good of a prospect as Sikkema and is five years younger.

The Yankees got an All-Star, and it didn't even cost them a top-15 prospect. Now that the dust has settled, this trade feels like the Royals were absolutely terrified that Juan Soto and or Shohei Ohtani was going to be traded before Benintendi and as a result, KC wouldn't get anything for him so they rushed to get a deal done for mediocre prospects.