Here we go! Time to speculate on things that probably won’t happen because the New York Yankees love to keep things as is rather than make drastic moves for the sake of moving on and finding a better solution.
Perhaps the way 2021 ended will change the front office’s thought process, though? Perhaps the Boston Red Sox overachieving, pounding us into the dirt in the AL Wild Card Game, and then swiftly advancing to the ALCS after handling the 100-win Tampa Bay Rays might make a difference of some sort?
We can sit here and give passes for 2018, 2019 and 2020, but we will NOT do that for 2021, and the Yankees shouldn’t either. They’re already likely bringing back manager Aaron Boone after it was already a foregone conclusion general manager Brian Cashman would return. If you’re going to do that, it’s time to shake up the personnel.
After all, it was owner Hal Steinbrenner who placed a majority of the blame on the players for what transpired over the last six months. If you believe that, it’s time to start sending people out the door.
At the very least, the Yankees could stand to part with some players who serve as a distraction, are blocked due to a logjam, or simply have an escalating arbitration salary that’s no longer worth footing the bill for.
And we’d go so far as to say none of these moves would affect the core of the current club should they make a few more additions and hope for a World Series run in 2022.
These three players could get non-tendered by the Yankees this offseason.
3. Miguel Andújar
Miguel Andújar, whose career was upended after he lost the AL Rookie of the Year award to Shohei Ohtani back in 2018, has no place on the Yankees. He cannot adequately play defense anywhere, and his bat is one that requires consistent playing time in order to catch fire. That’s not a dig, either. Baseball is incredibly difficult if you’re stuck as a part-time player and getting jerked around between multiple unfamiliar positions.
This offseason, Andújar is entering his first year of arbitration eligibility and is projected to make $1.75 million. The Yankees do not need him. They have plenty of other guys such as Tyler Wade, Estevan Florial, Greg Allen and Andrew Velazquez they’d likely rather keep on the 40-man and use in the infield/outfield.
Andújar rightfully believes he deserves to be an everyday player, so why not give him the chance and save nearly $2 million in the process to go after a reliever or something? If you couldn’t trade him in 2019, you certainly cannot trade him now, which is why it’s likely a non-tendering is the expected option here.
Plus, his projected salary is more than a $1 million raise for … playing in 45 games, batting .253 with a .667 OPS, and largely being a liability on defense. Nope. Pass.