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The Toronto Blue Jays lost out on Andrew Benintendi to the New York Yankees. They have an obvious backup plan they must pursue.
The first huge domino in the MLB trade deadline has fallen. The New York Yankees, following their walk-off loss to the New York Mets, acquired Gold Glove outfielder Andrew Benintendi from the Kansas City Royals in exchange for minor league pitchers Chandler Champlain, Beck Way, and TJ Sikkema.
As it turns out, the Toronto Blue Jays were in on Benintendi as well. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic pointed out that the Blue Jays were in the mix for Benintendi, in addition to the Milwaukee Brewers and Los Angeles Dodgers.
There is no reason for the Blue Jays to panic. They have another outfielder they can target at the deadline, and that is Ian Happ of the Chicago Cubs.
After losing out on Andrew Benintendi, Blue Jays must pursue Ian Happ
The Cubs are in sell mode at the trade deadline for the second consecutive year. Catcher Willson Contreras is set to be a free agent at season’s end. Happ, on the other hand, has one more year of arbitration remaining before he hits free agency.
Happ is having a great 2022 campaign, as he was named to the All Star Game for the first time in his career. Through 95 games, Happ is slashing .282/.366/.446 while recording nine home runs, 46 RBI, and 96 hits. He is just 10 hits shy of reaching a season-high.
His numbers are not that far off from Benintendi, who is slashing .320/.389/.399 while recording three home runs, 39 RBI, and 110 hits.
Toronto has the chance to make a move away from the pack (i.e. Tampa Bay Rays, Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox) in the AL East and potentially creep closer to the Yankees for first. They need to make a move, and Happ should be the player they pivot to ahead by the Aug. 2 deadline.