Coming off an inaugural campaign that could net a Rookie of the Year Award, Miguel Andujar would seemingly fit as part of the cornerstone for the Yankees' future. However, in the business of baseball, no stone is left unturned. And if the right deal is offered to the Yankees, they might consider dealing their third baseman.
Let's take a look at both sides of the equation...
Andujar wasn't the first choice at third base in 2018, but ended up running with the job after Brandon Drury couldn't shake the effects from migraines, which caused blurred vision. Andujar was a top prospect in the organization heading into 2018, known for his strong offensive abilities, albeit with a below average defensive skill set.
Andujar's offensive prowess transitioned to the big leagues quite easily as he compiled a .297/.328/.527 slash line with 47 doubles, 27 home runs and 92 RBI. While he showed some hints of improvement along the way, the organization left little doubt about how they felt about him in the field as he was consistently replaced in late innings toward the tail end of the regular season and in the Yankees' brief stay in the playoffs.
With Didi Gregorius out due to Tommy John surgery, it could boost the Yankees' interest in Manny Machado -- thus impacting Andujar. If the Bombers look to ink Machado, it would certainly now be with the intention for him to play shortstop at least until Gregorius returns. That would leave the hot corner for Andujar, who will play the 2019 season at the age of 24. One could and should also argue that the Yankees were going to go hard after Machado before the injury to Gregorius, meaning they were not completely sold on Andujar as a long-term solution.
The Yankees could find Machado's desires a bit loftier than they would like to take on and in that case the club would happily slot Andujar back at the hot corner with hopes that his hard work -- something that has never been questioned -- pays off.
The Yankees have plenty of money to spend this offseason and the club has already noted that they will be investing heavily in the starting rotation. While the list of shiny free agent possibilities is long, there is no guarantee that they will be able to land the prizes they would like to. With that, Andujar becomes one of the Yankees' valued trade chips.
Andujar's ready bat and hard-working demeanor would make him a solid option for a team looking to rebuild, meaning one that could tolerate the learning curve required at third base. Make no mistake, there is a lot of improvement needed on defense (Andujar produced a -25 mark in defensive runs saved in 2018 according to Baseball Reference), which could adversely affect his overall value.
However, if Andujar is packaged with the right combination of prospects, it could land the Yankees a bonafide frontline starting pitcher. If the Yankees had a weakness going into the playoffs, it was the confidence in the starting pitching to log enough innings to hand games over to the bullpen.
Again, trading Andujar becomes easier for the Yankees if they acquire Machado since the club has internal options to fill the void at shortstop (Gleyber Torres and Tyler Wade, for example). Although Andujar profiles as a designated hitter, the Yankees may want some wiggle room for that role considering the multiple players they might want to rest on a rotating basis at DH.
As with any offseason roster construction, the Yankees will have plenty of moving parts.
They might be a favorite to land Machado, but that does not necessarily mean Andujar is out the door. The Yankees could conceivably net the starting pitching they desire via the free agent market, again making Andujar a lethal bat remaining on the roster.
At the moment, Andujar is more valuable as a member of the Yankees, but the balance could shift the other way quite quickly this offseason depending on the club's ability to fill voids using its buying power.