ST. LOUIS — It seems as if the Yankees have replaced Joey Gallo in the outfield with … Joey Gallo.
Gallo is now with the Dodgers. Andrew Benintendi was 1-for-23, with an infield single and a double, before losing Friday night to the Cardinals. Aaron Hicks fell into a 0-for-2 slump, going into Saturday with no extra-base hit since July 9.
Aaron Boone, manager of the team, spoke out after the game. Giancarlo Ston and Harrison Bader, newly acquired players, were placed on the injures list.
Boone expressed no issues with Benintendi, saying the outfielder, picked up from the Royals before last week’s trade deadline, saying, “He’s the last guy you worry about. He’s such a good hitter.”
Despite this, the Yankees did not expect to see two hits in 33 plate appearances and just one extra-base hit when they acquired the 28 year-old for the stretch.
Although his eight walks on Friday were encouraging, his inability to keep up with the pace throughout the season was a surprise.
Benintendi finished his time in Kansas City this season with just three homers, though he got on base a lot — which is why the Yankees were interested in acquiring him.
Some scouts thought his power might increase once he reached the Yankees because of their preference for the ball in the air.
Benintendi is more likely to hit fly balls than he was before he came to The Bronx (31.6 % compared with 24.5%), but his ground ball rate has increased from 45.6 % with the Royals down to 52.6 when a Yankee.
The numbers are more concerning for Hicks, who Boone said had “struggled the last couple of weeks from the left side.’’
On the season, Hicks is hitting just .209 with a .642 OPS as a lefty hitter entering play Saturday and the results haven’t been much better from the right side.
The lack of production from Hicks certainly played a role in the Yankees’ decision to trade Jordan Montgomery, who started Saturday for the Cardinals, to St. Louis for Bader — even with Bader out at least until next month with plantar fasciitis, with no guarantee he’ll be effective in the postseason.
It’s a continuation of a troubling problem for Hicks and the Yankees, who have three more years after this one invested in the 32-year-old who hasn’t had a full, productive season since 2018.
The Yankees hope that Bader will be able to return to good health before the playoffs. This would allow them to play him in the center with Benintendi in the left and Aaron Judge at the right.
Stanton would then be able to serve as DH while he heals from left foot tendinitis.
Matt Carpenter has been also used in outfield to protect his lefty bat.
Bader, the right-handed batsman, had an unfavorable season at the plate. His OPS was.673 in 263 plate appearances.
The Yankees, though, didn’t acquire Bader for his bat.
They’re confident his elite defensive skills in the outfield will be important in October.
For now, though, with Bader out, Benintendi slumping and Hicks in the midst of another down season, it’s not hard to see why the team’s offense has been down.
Gallo is currently trying to re-establish his career with the Dodgers after the disappointment of his trade from Texas last season to the Yankees.
Source: NY Post