Miguel Andujar, New York Yankees Photo Credit: New York Post

Yankees: Miguel Andujar Just Can’t Get No Respect

The Yankees, despite his prodigious production, at times, behave almost as if Miguel Andujar is an afterthought. Why?

Miguel Andujar provided the Yankees with an incredible amount of production in 2018. Sadly, he’s not Brooks Robinson at third base. Since when does a player’s fielding ability overcome their overall value to a team. Ask the Yankees.

We will, but first, there’s this report from Joel Sherman writing for the New York Post in July 2018 just before the trade deadline.

“Multiple executives told The Post that Andujar’s free-swinging penchant and poor defensive metrics are areas of concern, with one saying, “Andujar is a horrendous third baseman. This all feels like the Yankees building up a player’s value to trade him for a young, controllable starter and then they will revisit the issue of third base in the offseason with [Brandon] Drury, an outside third baseman or signing Machado.”Source: Joel Sherman, New York Post

Drury, of course, is now gone, but Machado remains very much in the picture. When confronted by Sherman for a response, the words, as always, come glowingly from Yankees GM, Brian Cashman: “That is completely false. I think [Andujar] is a hell of a player. We have said ‘no’ to him [in trade talks] not just this year but from Double-A on up. I have not included him any deals, and that should say how I feel about him.”

Completely false? And yet, how is that Miguel Andujar keeps coming up in scenarios that re-kindle the prevailing belief that his time in the Bronx is limited, at best. Even when rumors were swirling about the Yankees acquiring Robinson Cano from the Mariners, Miguel Andujar, though not directly involved in the proposed trade talks, was a prime target of speculation that, as the player “who was pretty clearly the worst defensive third baseman in the game in 2018 — to first base and/or DH”. (Source: MLB Daily Dish)

Nevertheless, one has to reason that if Miguel Andujar is athletic enough with hand-to-eye coordination necessary to spray line drives to the far corners of Yankee Stadium off a 98mph fastball, he surely must be athletic enough to improve his fielding at third base, a corner infield position that demands production in any major league lineup.

No one questions the work ethic of Miguel Andujar. Ever.

“He’s put himself in position to compete for a job and he’s made tremendous strides on both sides of the ball,” Yankees VP of baseball operations Tim Naehring said. “Once again, tremendous work-ethic, and tools to be as good as he wants to be. “We just keep working on the lower half (defensively): start at the feet and move it up. Proper angles. Working through the baseball, good mechanically techniques for securing the baseball and turning it into an out. He’s a young kid. The arrow’s pointing up.”Source: Mike Mazzeo, New York Daily News

So, maybe what we have here is a 24-year old kid who everyone likes, to the point where all those other teams want Miguel Andujar as part of their team. Thus, the incessant trade rumors that Brian Cashman is forced to ward off.

Let’s be clear, Andujar is not “untouchable.” No player is. And if the right deal came along sending Miguel Andujar (or Aaron Judge for that matter) off somewhere in return for a player the Yankees believe has higher value, the deal must and should be done.

But as with Judge, any deal involving Miguel Andujar has to bring immediate benefit, the kind that is the driving force for the Yankees to win their 28th World Championship – now!

Those kinds of deals are few and far between. Brian Cashman termed the ongoing rumors “completely false.” This Yankees fan, for one, hopes he means it.

Meantime, the kid keeps working hard…

Written by Steve Contursi, Editor, Reflections On Baseball

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