Miguel Andujar is expected to compete for the starting third base job this spring but according to Yankees GM Brian Cashman, he’ll also get reps at first base and left field. With Gio Urshela entering camp as the heavy favorite to win the starting job Andujar’s ability to play multiple positions could be his ticket to get consistent at-bats this season.
One of the biggest questions surrounding the Yankees all offseason has been what role will Miguel Andujar play in 2020? After missing the majority of 2019 with a torn labrum Miggy has kind of fallen under the radar heading into Spring Training due to the emergence of Gio Urshela in his absence a season ago.
His name has been thrown around in trade rumors all winter, but with Spring Training about three weeks away it looks like he’s staying put which is great news. The Yankees have wisely held onto him even though he’s become more expendable, but just because he doesn’t have a set position doesn’t mean he should be traded.
The Yankees expect Miggy to enter camp without any restrictions and if he’s healthy they know he’s going to make a big impact offensively and pick up right where he left off in 2018. Now they just have to figure out a way to get his bat in the lineup as often as possible.
As Cashman revealed to the YES Network on Thursday in an interview on “Yankees Hot Stove” Miggy is going to learn two new positions this spring and try to become a more versatile player. Miggy seems like a good enough athlete to transition to either 1B or LF, but we really won’t know if he’s capable of doing so until we see him in some game action.
Trying out one new position during spring training is hard enough, but two is a lot to take on so it will be interesting to see which position he adapts to quicker. Given his experience as an infielder at third, my guess is first base will be a lot easier for him than left field. Although if he can show that he can play the outfield that could be the best spot for him to find consistent at-bats once the season rolls around.
I’m sure the Yanks would like to see Giancarlo Stanton play more outfield this season than he did during the past two but considering his injury history, he might be better off as the primary DH. That would leave Miggy and Mike Tauchman as options to platoon in left until Aaron Hicks makes his return from TJ surgery in June at the earliest.
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Before Cashman confirmed that Miggy is going to learn new positions I thought the only way to get him consistent at-bats would have been at DH while Stanton played left. That could still prove to be true, but they have six weeks to let him get reps at first and left so we’ll have to wait and see how he responds to the challenge.
Personally, I’d love to see Miggy take over at first base and be the long term starter there for years to come, but I don’t see that happening this year, at least not to start the season. That’s Luke Voit’s job to lose heading into spring and Mike Ford will be in the mix for a roster spot as well. DJ LeMahieu could also see some time at the position even though he’s expected to be the every day second basemen now that Gleyber Torres has shifted back over to shortstop.
One of the Yankee’s greatest strengths is their depth which is part of the reason why it’s so hard to predict where Miggy will fit into the mix to start the season. Even with Hicks injured the Yanks are still deep with talent at every position across the diamond. Finding at-bats for Miggy should be a priority for Aaron Boone but it’s not going to be the only challenge he faces on a daily basis when he pencils in his starting lineup.
That being said it’s never a bad thing to have too many options and the Yankees have plenty. As we all saw last season injuries can change the makeup of a lineup quickly and often so it’s important to have players on the 26-man roster who can provide some versatility and play multiple positions.
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Hopefully, Miggy can become one of those players because if he can the Yankees really shouldn’t have any problem getting him between 400 and 500 at-bats throughout the season.