Yankees third baseman Miguel Andujar has been focused on improving his game this offseason as opposed to the massive contracts Manny Machado and Nolan Arenado received.
The Yankees opted to stick with Andujar, the runner-up in the American League Rookie of the Year race, instead of pursuing Machado, who signed a 10-year, $300 million deal with the San Diego Padres earlier this month.
And while there was speculation that the Yankees were instead holding out on Arenado, the four-time Rockies All-Star who was eligible to become a free agent next offseason, he signed an eight-year, $260 million contract extension to stay with Colorado.
"Good for him. I want to be like that one day,'' Andujar told the New York Post's George A. King III. "Joking aside, I want to enjoy the game and give my best.''
Andujar, who turns 24 on Saturday, is coming off a rookie season in which he slashed .297/.328/.527 with 27 home runs and 92 RBIs, and manager Aaron Boone hopes he can continue to produce for New York.
"I don't want them to feel like [Andujar and second-year infielder Gleyber Torres] have to go out and outdo last year,'' Boone said. "You are always working on your craft and game to become a better player. I don't want them to feel like, 'I have to go out and do this.' I feel if their process is strong and they are working on their game the right way, that will show out over the long term.''
One of the biggest knocks on Andujar was his defense, given he committed 15 errors and had a UZR of -16.
"I think he has done a really good job of getting himself in really good physical condition. I think [he has] a really good understanding of the things he wants to work on,'' Boone said. "I think he has an understanding of things he wants to get better at.''
Andujar said earlier in the offseason, when the Yankees were considered contenders to sign Machado, he didn't feel anxious about the Machado rumors, even saying he would have accepted Machado had he joined New York.
Now that he knows he is the Yankees' primary option at third base, he said he is focused only on getting himself ready for the 2019 season.
"I have been positive from the beginning and I understand the questions [about Machado and Arenado]," Andujar said, "but at the same time I have to keep doing what helps me improve."