BRONX, N.Y. — Service time and the livin’s not easy. Such is the case with rising star Miguel Andujar. As a number of New York Yankees players, Giancarlo Stanton, Gio Urshela and Jonathan Loaisiga came off the injured list Tuesday, Andujar was optioned back down to the alternate training site in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
That news did not sit well with Andujar’s agent Ulises Cabrera.
“Miguel is the first one sent down and never the first one brought back up,” Cabrera opined to The Athletic’s, Lindsay Adler. Cabrera went on to further accuse the organization of manipulating Andujar’s service time and “controlling a young and productive asset for as long as possible.”
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman responded to Cabrera’s remarks, stating, “if we were trying to manipulate his service time, we would have optioned him after Sunday’s game instead of waiting until Tuesday.”
It’s a tough spot for all parties. Andujar’s bat should be in a major league lineup, as evidenced by his historic 2018 rookie campaign. The way the ball jumps off the barrel of his bat is reminiscent of an Alfonso Soriano or Jose Bautista. In addition, unlike early in the season, Andujar’s bat was starting to heat up recently when basically no one aside from Luke Voit and Clint Frazier was healthy and hitting.
Yet, it has been essentially a case of bad timing with Andujar. He didn’t have enough time in a regular spring training to work out the kinks either at third base or another position. Urshela supplanted him and became the “second coming” of Scott Brosius at the hot corner. Luke Voit went from possible flash in the pan/platoon at first base to leading MLB in home runs. Second base is probably easier to play than third base but DJ LeMahieu is locked in there. Frazier emerged as a matured regular in the outfield alongside Aaron Hicks and Aaron Judge. Stanton can barely DH and run 90 on the basepaths, let alone play the field without becoming injured.
Hence, there’s not a logical spot remaining for Andujar, even though his bat is a better option than Tyler Wade, Thairo Estrada, and Brett Gardner at this point.
The only unfortunate part of this is the Yankees would probably benefit more from having Andujar at DH for the rest of the season because if nothing else he probably keeps hitting and improves his trade value in the offseason.
Yet, with a fragile roster, the Yankees need positional defensive versatility that Andujar can’t provide them at this juncture.