The August 2 trade deadline is approaching, which means that rumors are heating up.
The Brewers could use some help offensively, particularly in the outfield, so it’s not surprising that Jon Heyman reported this morning that Milwaukee is among several teams “trying for” Kansas City Royals outfielder Andrew Benintendi.
Padres, Brewers and Yankees have been among teams trying for Andrew Benintendi, but his current non-vaccination status likely will take the Yankees out (they could play Toronto in the playoffs). The Yankees also have interest in Benintendi’s teammate, Michael A. Taylor.
As Heyman notes, the Yankees have had interest in Benintendi, but he is unable to play games against the Blue Jays in Toronto because his unvaccinated status bars him from legally entering Canada. That could make him unavailable for a significant portion of a Yankees postseason run.
Such a concern would not apply to the Brewers, who have no games against the Blue Jays in Toronto this season and would only play there if the two teams make the World Series.
Benintendi would undoubtedly provide an offensive boost to a Brewers lineup that does not match those of other contenders. The 28-year-old was never much of a power threat, but he has just three home runs this year and a career-worst .084 ISO. However, the Brewers rank fourth in baseball in home runs, so they have that department covered.
Instead, Benintendi provides value with his high on-base percentage and excellent plate discipline. This season, he is getting on-base at a .386 clip, which is propelling him to a 127 wRC+. The former Red Sox prospect is drawing walks 10.2% of the time against just a 14% strikeout rate. He owns a 9.8% walk rate and 18.2% strikeout rate for his career.
In the field, Benintendi fits best in left field. He has spent most of his career there and graded out as a plus defender (7 DRS per 1,200 innings). However, he played primarily center field in the minors and has played in 71 games up the middle in the big leagues.
The last of that experience came in 2019, and Benintendi has graded out as a below-average center fielder in that small sample. Nonetheless, that may be where he would fit best with the Brewers, who would be counting on his bat more than his glove.
Perhaps Benintendi’s ineligibility to play in Canada will prompt some American League suitors to bow out of the running, but his market still figures to be robust in the National League. For that reason, it seems unlikely that he’ll don a Brewers uniform down the stretch. The club appears to be interested, though.