With spring training just three days away, the New York Yankees still have a few moves left to make before they can feel confident with their roster. With position battles expected to take place, primarily within their depth spots, it should be an exciting spring. However, there are a few players left in limbo who have yet to realize their future.
One player who doesn’t have a defined role for the 2021 season is infielder Miguel Andujar. At 25 years old, Andujar is coming off a disappointing performance in 2020, where he hit .242 with one homer and five RBIs. His defense was a liability, as the Yankees attempted to insert him at the left-field position, which failed miserably.
He seems to be more of a utility player at this point in time, as the Yankees feel their starting roster is all but set. Clint Frazier has cemented himself in LF, and Andujar is still trying to carve out a spot on the roster.
That doesn’t mean Andujar should be forgotten about, as he still provides offensive value and represents a fantastic option if injuries do arise. The Yankees have dealt with significant injury problems over the last few years, and having a player of his magnitude to pull up at any moment is a huge positive.
According to Bryan Hoch of MLB.com, Andujar could be used as a filler in multiple spots:
With Gio Urshela recovering from offseason surgery to remove a bone spur from his right elbow, Andújar figures to receive most of the early reps at third base, as Urshela might not play in an exhibition game until the second week of March. That will provide Andújar with a chance to showcase his talents, not only for the Yankees, but also for the other 29 clubs.
If Andújar is on the Opening Day roster, his role is likely similar to what it was in 2020 — a backup at the infield corners and an occasional fill-in in outfield corners. Andújar could see time at designated hitter as well, of course, though that still seems to be Giancarlo Stanton’s full-time gig.
Andujar’s last successful season came in 2018 when he was a rookie. Over 606 plate appearances, he hit 27 homers and 92 RBIs. He finished with a 2.97 BA and 2.8 WAR. His influence was impactful, leading the Yankees to believe he could be their third baseman of the future. It wasn’t until Gio Urshela replaced him due to a shoulder injury that the Bombers finally realized what they were missing — an elite defensive presence on the hot corner.
There’s always the possibility that Miguel could be traded, especially if general manager Brian Cashman is looking to inject another quality relief pitcher into the bullpen. If I were the Yankees, I wouldn’t be actively seeking a trade, but if another team appears interested, it can’t hurt to kick the tires.