Miguel Andujar's role this season has been a question ever since Gio Urshela took over for him at third base, and had a career year in 2019. GM Brian Cashman has already said it's Urshela's job to lose, so finding a spot for Andujar is now one of the biggest storylines coming out of Yankees spring training.
Reporters have already prodded manager Aaron Boone to give them an inside look at what the team plans to do with the soon-to-be 25-year-old, and playing the outfield has been the base of some of those questions. Andujar has been seen taking reps with the other outfielders, and Boone said he could see some game time right away as well.
"Yeah," Boone said when asked if we could see Andujar in the outfield this weekend. "I think the good thing is, physically speaking, Miggy's feeling well and we feel like in a good place and ready to go and game ready. We'll get him out there in a lot of different situations and even positions. But, at the same time, being mindful of the demands that this creates and something new that we have to be mindful of."
Other options are first base or DH for Andujar, but what if he proves that outfield can be a viable option? It could bring about some roster decisions the Yankees have to make heading into this season, which include:
Making Giancarlo Stanton full-time DH
After an injury-laden 2019 season, the Yankees are hoping to get more out of the former NL MVP in 2020. One way to do that would be allowing Stanton time off his legs as a DH. However, with Andujar position-less at the moment and his bat being such a weapon, Boone might not have a choice but to put Andujar at DH and have Stanton be the primary left fielder.
Being able to play the outfield, though, Andujar and Stanton could swap those roles. Of course, when healthy, Stanton does have a cannon for an arm and has an obvious better feel for the position than Andujar. But, for some players around the league that don't have one true position, sticking them in left field -- the easiest of the three outfield positions -- is always an alternative. Look what the Mets did with J.D. Davis last season.
This would be an easy switch for Boone, and the best scenario if it all fell into place that way.
Clint Frazier becomes bigger trade chip
If Andujar is playing well in left field, Frazier's hopes of having a prominent role on the Yankees gest even smaller.
Frazier played well when filling in for the Yankees' injured outfielders last season, but his defense was very spotty despite his solid bat. The prospect of trading him because of the excess outfielder situation on the Yankees, which includes Aaron Judge and Brett Gardner (as well as someone we'll get to in just a second), has surfaced over the past two trade deadlines. However, Cashman couldn't find a deal he liked.
But he may want to shop Frazier even more if Andujar proves his worth at the position. That could come later on in the regular season, though.
What happens when Aaron Hicks returns?
Hicks will be out to start the season as he recovers from Tommy John surgery he received this offseason. But once that time is up and the switch-hitting centerfielder is back, what happens?
It could come down to a battle between Gardner and Andujar as odd as that sounds right now. Andujar's bat is a valuable asset, especially when it's hot like his 2018 rookie year, but Gardner had a career year at the plate last season as well. Gardner is also the Yankees' longest-tenured player with a clear veteran leadership role in the clubhouse.
That would be an extremely tough decision to make, and one where Boone might have to get extra creative to where Andujar plays a super-utility role between the outfield, third base to give Urshela a break and maybe even first.