The New York Yankees had to option third baseman / left fielder Miguel Andujar to their alternate training site before Thursday’s loss to the Philadelphia Phillies. They are about to enter a rough stretch of too many games in just a few days, so they opted to option the 2018 Rookie of the Year runner up, right-hander Nick Nelson (who had been burned on Wednesday with a long outing) and Thairo Estrada. They called up Nick Tropeano to help on the mound.
But in reality, Andujar’s demotion wasn’t so surprising if you consider that he was 1-for-14 with only one walk in the season, failing to get in a groove at the plate while playing sparingly in third base and left field.
The decision, as New York Yankees’ manager Aaron Boone told NJ.com, was “very tough. Unfortunately, I’ve had to have a few of those conversations with really good players that are big-league players … that are good big-league players. It’s a little bit the result of having a deep and talented roster. But that doesn’t make it any less easy when you’re telling a major leaguer that you have to option them.”
The Yankees depth forced their hand
The Yankees had Gio Urshela at third and Tyler Wade to back him up. At the same time, the outfield is also covered, with Giancarlo Stanton, Brett Gardner, Mike Tauchman, Aaron Hicks and Wade all capable of manning left field. Simply put, if Andujar wasn’t producing at the plate, his odds of being on the roster were slim given that it was shrunk from 30 to 28 players.
“We just felt like we needed coverage from a pitching standpoint,” Boone said.
Boone suggested that Andujar was pressing a little bit, knowing he had to produce in the precious few opportunities he received.
“I think with Miggy, it’s just a difficult role for him to be in,” Boone said. “I think he’s handled it great. His work has not changed. His attitude has not changed. But being in that role, I do feel like when he does get his opportunities, there’s that you want that result so bad that you probably press and get after it almost a little too much.”
In 2018, Andujar batted .297 with 27 homers and 92 RBI in 149 games as the Yankees’ starting third baseman.