The New York Yankees are at a crossroads this offseason in regards to their third base position.
With Gio Urshela coming off of a stellar season in which he finished with a .889 OPS and Miguel Andujar set to return from labrum surgery next season, the team might opt to look for other teams to create a bidding war for one of their budding stars at third base. However, when you remove their offensive numbers from the equation, the Yankees’ likely decision becomes clear: Miguel Andujar doesn’t have a future in the Bronx.
But what’s the market for Andujar? A soon-to-be 25-year-old with poor plate discipline, a rather low hard-hit rate (tied for 88th out of 140 qualifiers in 2018), and a lack of defensive ability to this point.
Many have looked at teams like the Atlanta Braves or the “way too early” offseason champion Los Angeles Angels as potential suitors for Andujar. Yet that doesn’t add up with the way their teams are currently constructed.
The Braves have Johan Camargo, a budding star in his own right, who is just one year removed from slashing .272/.349/.457 and defensive metrics that likely would’ve awarded him with a Gold Glove if he had a comparable volume to winner Nolan Arenado.
On the Angels’ side of the spectrum, they have 25-year-old utility man David Fletcher, who is coming off of his first full season in the MLB. In 665.1 innings at third base, he accumulated five defensive runs saved and a UZR/150 of 7.4. While he posted a pedestrian .734 OPS and was below league-average in wRC+, he still had an xBA of .302 and had the third-lowest strikeout rate in baseball among qualifiers.
After eliminating the masses’ consensus for the top two suitors, this begs the question: What market is there for Miguel Andujar? When you look across the league, most teams looking to turn the corner in the next couple years already have their third baseman of the future (Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in Toronto, Yoan Moncada in Chicago, and Hunter Dozier in Kansas City). Not many teams out there are looking to shop top prospects for a third baseman that has as many deficiencies on the field as Miguel Andujar.
There’s always the Giants. But having already lost Will Smith, and potentially losing Madison Bumgarner in free agency, there’s a greater chance San Francisco opts to rebuild and accumulate prospects rather than ship them off.
There’s no question that Andujar has projectable talent with the bat. However, looming questions about his defense have the Yankees questioning his future with them in their quest to capture their 28th World Series title. That being said, with no teams out there in dire need of a third baseman, there’s not much of a market for the Dominican native. The Yankees might be better off hanging on to Andujar because there’s no sense in selling short.