Miguel Andújar has been a Yankee for life. Coming from the Dominican Republic, Andújar burst onto the scene in his rookie season in 2017. He slashed .297/.328/.527. He finished second in the American League Rookie of the Year voting, only to lose to 2 way star, Shohei Ohanti. For all intents and purposes, Andújar was yet another elite homegrown player the Yankees could use on their roster.
But the success didn’t continue, nor did his staying on the Yankees’ major league roster. Andújar followed up his 2018 season with an injury in 2019, allowing him to only play 12 games in the major leagues. He didn’t shine in those 12 games, becoming half the player he was just a year before, as he slashed .128/.143/.128. Since his rookie season in 2018, where he played in 149 games, he has played in a total of 90 games for the Yankees.
Part of this is because of his battle with injuries, while the other part is his lack of performance. However, this is where the ultimate question comes in: are his lower numbers attributed to his lack of consistent at bats? And, if so, what starting player should sit out while we wait for Andújar to return to his 2018 form? This is a conundrum not uncommon in baseball, as it is common rhetoric amongst managers. Baseball is a sport that thrives on routine, so having players pinch hit, or spot start hinders their ability to get into a routine.
The Yankees are in a position of luxury. They currently lead their division by 6 games, they can afford to give opportunities to slumping players to allow them to figure it out. But that is where the luxury of the Yankees ends. They already are giving opportunities to slumping players. Essentially 2 of their 3 outfielders, Joey Gallo and Aaron Hicks have continued to struggle. So it would be a bit of a stretch to add in Andújar, who, if he plays the infield, would take away a start from potential all-stars. Further, it would then make 30% of the Yankees lineup seemingly an automatic out.
So, it’s no wonder Andújar requested a trade after the Yankees demoted him again.
This season he has been performing at the major league level. In just 12 games, he is slashing .268/.279/.317. Those numbers could improve even more with regular playing time. Hard to say anyone could blame Andújar. Fans groan and bemoan the thought of Joey Gallo getting consistent at-bats, and I doubt Andújar disagrees. But, with Gallo having no minor league options remaining and the Yankees paying him 10 million dollars, money plays, while Andújar plays in Scranton Wilkes-Barre.
So then, what would an Andújar trade consist of? My concern is with Cashman’s history. He notoriously hypes up prospects, makes them untouchable in a trade, they perform for one season, and struggle to return to that form, and then their stock drops. It happened with Clint Frazier. It happened with Gary Sanchez. It may have happened with Gleyber Torres (jury is still out on him). Point is: Cashman doesn’t seem to have an idea of when it is time to sell. To me, it is baffling that Cashman would not keep Andújar in the majors, to help bolster his stock (and morale), and then trade him.
Now, of course with the trade deadline a month away, that is still possible. But knowing Cashman, Andújar will be in the minors until the trade deadline, barring an injury.
While fans seek to have monster returns for Andújar, seemingly over glorifying his rookie campaign, it is important to stay modest. I have seen Yankees twitter propose a trade of Andújar, Jasson Dominguez, and Gallo for Washington Nationals star outfielder, Juan Soto.
The hypotheticals are always amusing, but essentially, fans should remain realistic in what Andújar is. He’s an everyday player, able to provide some contact and speed, with a little bit of power. That does not amount to getting a hall of famer.
The trade deadline will show what the Yankees need. Bullpen is always a need during the trade deadline for all teams, so maybe they use Andújar as a piece there. Or maybe they trade for any of the remaining Cincinnati Reds.
The possibilities are endless, but the point remains the same: Yankees and fans alike need to remain in reality when considering the player Andújar is, and the value he brings to both the Yankees, and a possible trade mate.