John Harper of SNY.tv proposed four trades over the weekend that the Yankees could do involving Miguel Andújar, since his fit on the Yankees in 2020 isn’t clear at the moment. There were some pretty absurd trade ideas…
Andújar to the Braves for Max Fried and Tucker Davidson
That’s an instant “no” from the Braves. Fried posted a 4.02 ERA, 3.72 FIP, 3.32 xFIP, and 3.83 SIERA in 165 2/3 innings in 2019. He’s probably their second-best starting pitcher, behind Mike Soroka. Davidson is a top-20 prospect in the organization and looks to have a really bright future in someone’s rotation, if it’s not the Braves, so that’s just adding more insult to injury.
Andújar to the Angels for Jo Adell
This one has to be a joke. Publishing an article with this mock trade idea is considered slander to a possible future great to me. Adell is a top-5 prospect in all of baseball… 65 FV (future value), according to FanGraphs. The Angels might not even include him in a trade for Mookie Betts, if it came down to that. He posted a 173 wRC+ in 43 games at Double-A in 2019. Adell is only 20 and should be in the Angels’ lineup at some point in 2020. The likelihood of him getting dealt is pretty minuscule, and especially not for an over-performing bat with no defense like Andújar.
Andújar to the Tigers for Matt Manning
Okay, this is intriguing, but that’s where it stops—at intrigue. Matt Manning is an absolute stud of a pitching prospect in the Tigers’ organization. He’s their No. 2 prospect—behind just Casey Mize—and a top-40 prospect in all of baseball. In 24 starts at Double-A last year, he had a 2.56 ERA, 2.53 FIP, 2.63 xFIP, and a 28.1% strikeout rate. Those are stellar numbers. With a rebuilding team like the Tigers, it doesn’t really make sense to trade top prospects unless the right opportunity presents itself. Yes, they are in dire need of offense, having been the worst offensive team in baseball over the last two seasons (80 wRC+, 4.2 fWAR). However, there still isn’t really a fit even on the Tigers for a guy like Andújar.
Andújar to the Cubs for Kyle Schwarber
This is the one we’re going to concentrate on in this column. I would do backflips and run through the streets naked if this could happen for the Yankees. The Cubs are looking to sell off key position players this offseason to clear future payroll—which leads to Schwarber’s name being back on the trade block for what feels like the 100th year in a row.
Schwarber would be a much better fit in a righty-heavy lineup than a guy like Andújar. Schwarber strikes out quite a bit, and I know a lot of people don’t like strikeouts, but Schwarber has gotten on base at a 34.7% rate over the last two seasons, compared to Andújar’s 31.5% rate.
In 70 second-half games in 2019, Schwarber was absolutely insane at the plate for the Cubs. 20 home runs, 36.6% on-base rate, .404 wOBA, and a fantastic 151 wRC+. Those are beautiful numbers. His 151 wRC+ was better than guys like Xander Bogaerts, Aaron Judge, Juan Soto, Bryce Harper, Cody Bellinger, and Nolan Arenado in the second half.
Schwarber is pretty bad in left field, sporting a minus-10 OAA (Outs Above Average) in 2019 and minus-8 OAA in 2018, though Defensive Runs Saved disagrees with those numbers, as he had 2 DRS in 2018 and minus-1 DRS in 2019.
Still, with his offensive numbers, the fact he’s been underperforming his expected stats (.343 wOBA/.350 xwOBA in 2018, .357 wOBA/.375 xwOBA in 2019), and his pull-happy and powerful lefty swing (.375 BA/.481 wOBA on balls pulled), he’d be an excellent fit in a Yankees’ lineup dying for lefty power hitters.
However, if the Yankees wanted to trade for Schwarber, I don’t think Andújar would be the guy they could trade straight-up for him. Sure, Andújar has shown he can be a quality major-league hitter, but players with historically terrible defense aren’t usually fits for National League teams, considering the NL doesn’t have a DH.
Obviously there’s always room for improvement, but for a team that prides itself on solid infield defense, Andújar would be hurting that, even with any improvement from his past failures at third base.
Sure, Andújar’s defense could always improve and if the Cubs decided to trade Kris Bryant, a spot at third base could open up, but the Cubs have better players in their farm system that could fill in at third base or anywhere in the infield for them and those players can actually play major-league defense. Nico Hoerner (117 wRC+ at Double-A, 6.6 UZR/150 at 2B in MLB), Aramis Ademan, Zack Short, and Trent Giambrone (a David Bote type) are better options for the Cubs.
If I were the Yankees, I’d immediately pull the trigger. Just imagine that lefty stroke in Yankee Stadium. It’s orgasmic to just think about.
If I were the Cubs, I would look to trade Schwarber for a better asset, if you’re going to trade him at all.