Injuries can be the turning point for any given player, and for Yankees‘ Miguel Andujar, it could be the determining factor behind trading him for assets. The young third baseman tore his Labrum last season, virtually missing the entire campaign, hurting his chances of earning a starting job.
Manager Aaron Boone did give us an update on his progress:
“[Andujar] is doing really well,’’ Boone said Friday at Yankee Stadium. “I expect him to be ready to go for spring training.’’
The emergence of Gio Urshela, who posted a .314 batting average in 2019, has put Andujar in the passenger seat, relegating him to a reserve option or designated hitter role. In his rookie campaign two years ago, he was stellar, hitting .297 with 27 homers and 47 doubles. There’s little evidence to suggest he cannot be the same offensive force he once was for the Yankees, but rumors of Josh Hader being on the table could force GM Brian Cashman’s hand. It boils down to his confidence in Urshela, and if manager Aaron Boone is assured that his one season of offensive efficiency can spill into 2020.
However, there are several things the Yankees can do with Miguel Andujar, let’s take a look:
1.) Trade him
Andujar has plenty of value after being the runner up for Rookie of the Year in 2018. His injury might decrease his projected value a bit, but other teams hold him in high regard. If Hader is really on the table and they require Andujar to be a part of the deal, Cashman won’t hesitate to pull the trigger if the overall price is right.
2.) Keep him at third base
While Urshela will undoubtedly get the first crack at the starting job on the hot corner, Andujar could easily replace him if his offensive abilities don’t remain consistent. Having a capable reserve at one of the more challenging positions in baseball is essential, and one injury there could derail the infield enough to sway the team’s record.
Keeping Miggy seems like the better move, in my opinion, but supplementing the loss of Dellin Betances and Nestor Cortes Jr. is also something to consider. I’m not entirely sold on Urshela, as his lone season of production is something to be cautious about.
3.) Andujar could change positions
The Yankees have floated the idea of moving Andujar around the infield, potentially to first base. This would make sense given his lack of fielding efficiency on the hot corner, logging a .948 percentage over 136 games in 2018. His lone season of sample size doesn’t give us much to work off of regarding progression, but it’s fair to assume it can only get better from there.
Boone stated earlier in the offseason that they haven’t considered moving him just yet, but Spring Training could be a substantial opportunity to earn reps elsewhere.