Toronto might pursue a trade for KC Royals outfielder Andrew Benintendi.
A report by MLB Network’s Jon Morosi (Twitter link) last week suggested the Blue Jays and Royals might work out a Benintendi deal. It makes sense.
Toronto is 14.5 games behind the Yankees in the American League East, but currently holds the second Wild Card. They Jays have enjoyed a fairly strong season from their outfield but could upgrade right field where Teoscar Hernández is slashing .258/.310/.446.
Although Toronto has promoted some top prospects in the last two seasons, its farm system features a couple of outstanding prospects who could be blocked at the major league level.
Perhaps this deal could help those players advance:
What might help this deal get done is the Jays showing interest in Benintendi and the Royals’ high-caliber relievers. Scott Barlow comes with two more years of club control after this season, but at 29 may not fit into Kansas City’s realistic future contention window. A deal packaging Benintendi and Barlow together could maximize KC’s return.
Groshans is potentially the biggest piece of that return. Toronto picked him in the first round of the 2018 draft that produced so many hurlers for the Royals; at 22, he could be ready for the major leagues sometime next year.
However, he’s slashing .265/.368/.318 with only one home run in 49 games at Triple-A. The .318 SLG is concerning and down substantially from last season’s .450.
Pearson is on the IL with a right lat strain. He’s dealt with a plethora of injuries in his short two-year major league career but has pitched well in the minors where, in 161 innings over five seasons, he’s 6-8 with a 2.67 ERA, 11.1 SO9 and 2.7 BB9. Pearson could help KC’s rotation if he can stay healthy.
The switch-hitting Machado, 19 and playing in Low-A as a middle infielder, doesn’t hit for much power but MLB Pipeline rates him Toronto’s 13th best prospect.