With the New York Yankees reportedly dropping out of contention for superstar free agent Manny Machado, we can all take a well-deserved deep breath and appreciate the fact that third-baseman Miguel Andujar isn’t going anywhere.
The Yankees’ hot-stove was cooking with Andujar at the forefront:
Rumors began to swirl that Andujar was on the trading block for a potential starting pitcher – Mets’ Noah Syndergaard was the man of choice for the Bombers at the time, but that deal inevitably fell through. Keeping the second-year starter was always a priority.
Andujar batted .297 in 2018 but struggled as a fielder, allowing 15 errors. Adapting to the speed and power of the MLB is no easy feat for any player, and why would letting one of your best youth players go be advisable? Well, it certainly isn’t and I commend the Yankees for sticking to their home-grown talent instead of dishing out players to try to fill a gap in the pitching rotation.
What is Miguel Andujar doing to improve?
The 22-year-old has spent a majority of the offseason working on his fielding and becoming a more well-rounded player. Realistically, if he can maintain his hitting prowess and improve his defensive abilities, the entire idea of bringing on Manny Machado would then look redundant.
Some analysts have mentioned the idea of moving Andujar to another position in the infield to try easing the defensive burden, but the youngster hasn’t played anywhere else in his career aside from the left-corner.
The Yankees need to remain patient with Andujar, allowing him to learn from his mistakes and gain experience as the years go on. For comparison’s sake, let’s take a look at Alex Rodriguez’s fielding stats from early on in his career.
In 1996, A-Rod committed 15 errors in his third-season as a professional. In 1997 – 24, 1998 – 18, 1999 – 14, 2000 – 10, 2001 – 18…
Now, obviously this was a different time-period and A-Rod was a monster-hitter, but the narrative here is to prove that patience is key and that Andujar “will,” in fact, improve.