The Yankees don’t appear to be interested in trading Miguel Andujar, but that doesn’t mean he’s going to be their starting third baseman next season.
The Yankees aren’t anxious to get Miguel Andujar‘s powerful bat in their lineup next season. They are equally as hesitant about the idea of putting his questionable glove back at third base. That’s why the team’s front office is preparing Andujar to find another position to play before the 2020 regular season begins.
Specifically, officials in New York have instructed Andujar to “prepare for spring reps” at both first base and left field. Both positions would require much less of Andujar from a defensive perspective. They also happen to be positions that the Yankees might like to strengthen this spring in hopes of breaking the organization’s long World Series drought.
Yankees fans really shouldn’t be surprised by this news. The team was never going to sell low on Andujar after he missed almost all of last season due to injury. General Manager Brian Cashman certainly took calls on Andujar this winter, but he was only going to deal him for a big return. Once it became obvious that type of trade wasn’t going to materialize, the team needed to transition its thinking towards the various ways to maximize Andujar’s value.
Finding a place on the diamond where his defensive limitations can be minimized is the correct idea. First base and left field both require less glove work than is required from Andujar at third base. There’s a reasonable chance that he can develop into a slightly below-average fielder at either position.
Left field is a potential area of need for the Yankees because of questions about Giancarlo Stanton’s ability to play in the field on a daily basis. Mike Tauchman is a better defensive option than Andujar at that spot, but he’s also an inferior hitter when compared to Andujar. At the very least, the two could form an intriguing platoon there for Aaron Boone to deploy.
Luke Voit is currently the team’s starter at first base, but his defense is far from exemplary. The organization also isn’t completely convinced that he can hit consistently enough to really lock down the position on a full-time basis. If Andjuar can outhit Voit and upgrade his defense slightly, it’s easy to envision a scenario where he takes over the lion’s share of the at bats.
In the end, making Andujar a more versatile player makes complete sense for the Yankees. It’s only going to help his value moving forward. It will be interesting to see whether that value is realized in the Bronx or elsewhere as the 2020 season rolls along.