Yankees: Miguel Andujar should be off limits in talks for Noah Syndergaard

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 31: Miguel Andujar #41 of the New York Yankees is congratulated by Luis Severino #40 after he hit a home run against the Detroit Tigers during the sixth inning of a game at Yankee Stadium on August 31, 2018 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 31: Miguel Andujar #41 of the New York Yankees is congratulated by Luis Severino #40 after he hit a home run against the Detroit Tigers during the sixth inning of a game at Yankee Stadium on August 31, 2018 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /
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According to reports if the Yankees have any hopes of acquiring Noah Syndergaard from the Mets they’re likely going to have to give up Miguel Andujar to get him. While there’s no doubt that Syndergaard would bolster their starting rotation trading Miggy for him would be a bad idea.

Before I talk about why Andujar shouldn’t be traded for Syndergaard let’s dive into the rumors about the potential three-team deal between the Yankees, Mets, and Marlins.

Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic reported late Monday night that the teams were discussing a potential deal headlined by J.T. Realmuto going to the Mets and Syndergaard heading across town to the Yankees. On Tuesday Rosenthal tweeted that one name to keep an eye on being traded from the Yankees is Andujar because the Marlins are looking for a young major leaguer as part of their return.

Now whether Andujar ends up going to Miami or the Mets (which is a possibility) I still think the Yankees would be crazy to trade him just so they can land Syndergaard. I understand that when he’s healthy Syndergaard is one of the most dominant starters in baseball, but his development to become a legitimate ace has been halted in recent years due to injuries.

Over the past two seasons, he’s made a total of 32 starts, and because of this, he hasn’t been as effective or as dominant as he was since his last fully healthy season in 2016. He’s still been solid, but the injuries are a cause for concern especially if the Yanks are going to give up a player of Andujar’s caliber.

Syndergaard is still young at only 26 years old but he’s three years older than Miggy and has two years less of team control. He’ll make close to $6 million in arbitration next season and even though that’s still not a whole lot it’s a heck of a lot more than what Andujar will make after he only made  545,000 his rookie season and isn’t arbitration eligible until 2021. That’s quite the bargain for a player who should have won AL Rookie of the Year and was the Yankees best hitter a season ago.

Payroll flexibility is one of the many reasons I’d love to keep Andujar, but the main reason is that he’s a blossoming star who has the chance to be one of the best all-around hitters in the game. What he accomplished in 2018 was absolutely incredible and the scary part is the best is yet to come.

He set a Yankees rookie record with 47 doubles last season, breaking the great Joe Dimaggio’s record of 46 all the way back in 1936. He also hit 27 home runs so as he gets older and stronger and shows more discipline at the plate he has a chance to someday hit close to 35 to 40 home runs all while hitting over 300. That’s such a rarity in today’s game, but that’s the type of talent he possesses.

The Machado factor

Now I know most Yankee fans would be more than willing to trade Miggy for Syndergaard because they believe that would than lead to the signing of Manny Machado. That may very well happen but I still have my concerns about handing him a 10-year contract for close to $300 million given the serious character issues he displayed this past October.

One thing I know about Miguel Andujar is he plays the game the right way and there’s never been anyone who’s questioned his hustle since he entered the big leagues. He’s one of the very few players who still sprints to first base every time he puts the ball in play. Sure his defense wasn’t great a season ago, but it was his rookie year and with his work ethic I truly believe he’ll become a solid big league third basemen in the long run.

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As I said earlier he’s also still making next to nothing compared to most players, especially compared to what Machado will make once he cashes in this offseason. That’s why I think the Yankees would be better off spending their money on another stater, another high leverage reliever (or two) and a solid defensive middle infielder to be a short-term replacement for Didi.

I know I might sound crazy because on paper a Yankee team with Machado and Syndergaard in the fold looks better than a team with Andujar still at third and a guy like J.A. Happ in the rotation.

However, I think the Yankees would still have as good a chance as anyone to win a World Series with the ladder team and that would also allow them to save a ton of money in the long term. That’s money they could someday use to lock up their young stars such as Judge, Severino, and Andujar himself.

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I understand that now is not the time to be looking down the road when the focus should be on winning a title right now. However, if Miguel Andujar turns out to be the superstar I think he could be then that’s exactly why trading him for anyone at all would be a grave mistake.