In 2018, young Yankees took over the AL Rookie of the Year voting. New York’s third baseman Miguel Andujar and shortstop Gleyber Torres finished second and third respectively in Vote rookie of the yearlost to Angels’ two-way phenomenon Shohei Ohtani.
Ohtani hit 22 home runs and posted a .925 OPS during his rookie campaign, while also recording a 3.31 ERA. Yet somehow Andújar still got five votes in first place. There were five voters who believed Andújar had a better rookie season than Ohtani, showing just how highly regarded Andújar was. While he was by no means an elite fielder, he racked up 92 runs for a playoff squad and was a major reason they made it into the postseason in the first place. There were obviously some flaws in his swing, but nothing that couldn’t be worked on. So it was obvious that Andújar would only get better as his career progressed.
Fast forward four years, and Andújar appeared in just 90 games, stepping at the plate just 319 times and scoring 62 OPS-plus. He’s barely had a chance to play. Injuries derailed his 2019 season. He was unable to recover from that torn labrum in time to be productive in 2020, and in 2021 his swing deteriorated further, pushing Andújar further into Yankees obscurity, pushing the once-promising star to a footnote in baseball history was referenced. Now in 2022, after just 12 appearances in pinstripes, Andújar has officially asked for a trade. Why? Lack of opportunities of course.
But does Andújar even deserve consistent playing opportunities at this point? Since the end of 2018, the man has a running percentage of 3.8. I feel like I don’t need to notice how terrible that percentage is. In fact, since the start of the 2019 season, that has been the 11th worst percentage from anyone with at least 300 plate appearances. While the likes of Tim Anderson and Salvador Perez can make up for that lack of plate discipline with power, Andújar cannot. Out of anyone over that three-year span with a running speed of less than 5 percent, Andújar has the fourth-lowest isolated power percentage (0.095) — also known as ISO — ahead of only Erik González (0.084), Dee Strange-Gordon ( .070), and Nick Madrigal (.077). However, these guys are at least solid contact hitters, semi-decent outfielders, or are in the twilight of their careers. Andújar, 27, has none of those excuses. He’s just not good anymore.
So, would a team be willing to trade a half-decent prospect for Andújar? Probably not. The Chicago White Sox have played pretty horribly at third base this year. Their third basemen posted a -1.2 rWAR this season, worst in MLB† However, I would still have more confidence in Yoán Moncada or Jake Burger at this point than in Andújar. The Washington Nationals’ third basemen have recorded the second-worst rWAR this year (-1.1), and they could actually use Andújar as a low point, because as cool as Lucius Fox’s name is, he hasn’t shown anything in the Major League level. Without Fox, Maikel Franco is the only player on that roster who can actually play third base, and he hasn’t been that great either. That said, why would the Nats be willing to trade a prospect away for a low piece instead of giving Fox more game time to see if he can figure out what was wrong with him on the record? It’s not like the Nationals are going to compete for the playoffs this year, especially if they Trade Juan Soto gone (i know) Matt Rizzo stopped those rumors, but I still wouldn’t rule out that possibility). trade IN FRONT OF anything other than high-end prospects is just not on the table. Unless they can get rid of Patrick Corbin’s contract, that would be an exception.
Miguel Andújar is a cautionary tale about someone with so much promise going out faster than a grease fire in a department store that only sells lids. I’m sure the Yankees would love to trade him, but he makes over a million dollars to be a disadvantage on the plate and on the field. Good luck finding someone who will either pay for that contract or give him a little more than a few warm gummy bears.
I really liked Andújar. I thought he and Torres were a fun couple to watch on the left side of the Yankees’ infield in 2018, but over the years, he’s become nothing more than a name to call while casually yelling out random athletes with your friends at the bar. I hope it gets traded. I hope he finds a place where he can get consistent playing time, but I wouldn’t bet on it.