CLEVELAND – Miguel Andujar has learned a lot over the past three seasons. The one-time Rookie of the Year runner-up has learned various positions, including first base, and is now considered a solid major league outfielder. He’s also learned about the business side of baseball, the numbers game that keeps him in the minor leagues, even as he continues to contribute to the big leagues.
Andujar, back with the Yankees as the 27th man for a doubleheader against the Guardians at Progressive Field, was talking about his request for a trade on Saturday morning.
“I love to play baseball. I’ve been playing this game for a long time,” Andujar said through Yankees interpreter Marlon Abreu. “I want to play at this level. I wish to keep the exact details of the conversation private. ,
Andujar’s actions speak clearly that he can contribute to a major league team right now. He’s lacking .316/.362/.485 with .848 Ops in 45 games at Triple-A. He has seven home runs, eight doubles and 27 RBIs. He took out 12 walks and got hit out 24 times.
“Yeah, it’s difficult, but at the same time, as I mentioned a moment ago, you have to keep doing your thing,” Andujar said of getting stuck at Triple-A. “You have to keep playing your game. You know, I know opportunities are coming, so be prepared for them.”
The road to the majors appears to be blocked with the Yankees opting for Andujar, who trailed Shohei Ohtani in voting for the 2018 American League Rookie of the Year award. He lost his initial third job in March 2019 after suffering a shoulder injury at the end of the season and Gio Ursella came in and played so well. The infield is now overcrowded with the Yankees needing to move Josh Donaldson and DJ Lemahieu out there.
So, the Yankees asked Andujar to find other locations. He played before, but it was not a very good fit. He has transformed himself into a good outfielder. But the Yankees already have a rotation with Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Hicks and Joey Gallo. The Bombers were unwilling to admit that their trade for Gallo, who is dwindling to .165/.276/.330 with .606 ops and 85 strikeouts in 188 at-bats, was a bust, according to Andujar’s. There is no place for
Aaron Boone described the conversation he had with Andujar earlier last month, when he sent him back to Triple-A, as tough. The news leaked after Andujar opted out that his agent had contacted the Yankees asking them to trade him.
Yankees managers have been impressed with how Andujar handled the situation.
“Immediately, I know he went down there and said ‘I’m going to go out and bang it,’ and he did it,” Boone said. “So, it’s not easy when you have to go back and think you belong here. But to his credit, like I said, he has gotten behind it and re-earned this opportunity.”
And it’s also an opportunity for the Yankees.
Andujar was looked for by other teams in the winter of 2019, but the Yankees – unprepared to believe that Ursella’s year was real – were kept as insurance. Now, with the Yankees looking to move Gallo, Andujar could be a chip in a trade at the end of the month. Letting teams catch a glimpse of them in the big leagues could generate some more interest.
A scout who watched Andujar in Triple-A last month said Andujar impressed him with “solid,” at-bats and that those teams “still see bat value.”