Roster Moves

Drury or Andujar? Who’s here for the long-run?

 

The problem has come to the surface. Finally, both Brandon Drury and Miguel Andujar are healthy and Major League ready at the same time, meaning some tough decisions are going to have to be made.

Short-term

The first one already has: Drury was reinstated off of the disabled list on May 15th, but he was kept in Triple-A due to rookie Miguel Andujar’s solid play over his first handful of games, both at the plate and, more surprisingly, in the field. Problem solved – for now. The question now shifts to which player will have more of an impact as the starting third baseman moving forward? Sure, Drury can move around the infield, and he can even dabble in the outfield. But top prospect Gleyber Torres seems to have no intentions of giving up second base, Didi Gregorius is entrenched at short, and the Yankees already have a crowded enough outfield as it is.

Andujar has had a period where he was mired in somewhat of a slump, but he did not let it affect him to the point where his batting average simply took a nosedive. Instead, he has maintained it at a respectable level and sits at .277 as of May 19th.

Drury can take the role as more of a utility player, but the Yankees already have that in Ronald Torreyes. The team traded for Drury wanting him to be the starting third baseman this year and felt as if he could potentially tap into his upside à la Gregorius when he first came over.

Long-term

Drury won’t be a free agent until 2022, and so he is controllable for the foreseeable future. Of course, too much depth never hurts. Many were curious as to how the Yankees would handle their crowded outfield heading into the 2018 season. But Jacoby Ellsbury got hurt, as did Aaron Hicks and Clint Frazier.

One route the Yankees could go is to dangle Andujar as trade bait closer to the trade deadline in July. However, if they were not willing to let him go this past offseason, it seems that they would have the same sentiment this time around, especially now that he has produced in the Majors. Additionally, it is likely that they have not seen Drury produce enough to fully commit to giving him the third base job should they move Andujar. Of course, they could always use Andujar as a centerpiece in a deal for a quality starting pitcher and then go after Manny Machado in the offseason.

So at the moment, it appears as if Andujar is here to stay. He certainly has impressed, featuring an above-average bat. He makes hard contact nearly 38-percent of the time and has shown a decent eye with a strikeout rate at 20-percent, below the average of 23. It seems like the Yankees want him to succeed and man the hot corner in the Bronx for a long time, and if he continues to be a solid presence both offensively and defensively, it is hard to see where Brandon Drury fits at the moment, and potentially long-term.

 

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