It’s all come full circle. Gerrit Cole is on the New York Yankees. Clint (Jackson) Frazier is floating along. And Miguel Andújar is a Pittsburgh Pirate. Just like we drew it all up … back in 2018 before Cole was sent to the Houston Astros after the Buccos spurned the Yanks in trade talks.
Remember that? It was the beginning of the never ending “Andújar and Frazier” trade package joke that rival fans desperately grasped for out of thin air because they needed something to make themselves feel better. Little did they know, they didn’t even need that! The Yankees have been a disappointment for a long time!
But anyway, back in 2018 (following the conclusion of the 2017 season), the Yankees were eyeing more pitching. Cole was on their radar. And they had enough talent to put together a package to get a deal done.
Over the weekend, when Andújar was claimed off waivers by the Pirates after the Yankees designated him for assignment, the whole situation reminded Yankees fans how yet another miss by general manager Brian Cashman has left everyone befuddled about the early 2018 and 2019 playoff exits.
Why? Because Andújar was of interest to the Pirates and his inclusion in a deal with Frazier reportedly had a very good chance to seal the deal.
Miguel Andújar joining the Pirates elicits bad memories for Yankees fans
In the end, Cole went to the Astros for four other bad players, and the right-hander played a role in booting the Yankees from the 2019 ALCS.
There were obviously conflicting reports about the whole ordeal — and we may never know what’s true — but at the time, Ken Davidoff of the New York post reported that Cashman didn’t want to package Andújar and Frazier together. For a moment, the GM was vindicated, too, because Andújar finished second in the AL MVP voting in 2018 behind Shohei Ohtani (who was never going to lose).
But who would you rather have? The actual fire-breathing version of Cole (admittedly beyond unpredictable given his career-worst 2017 season), who finished with a 2.88 ERA, 2.70 FIP, 1.03 WHIP and 276 strikeouts in 32 starts (200.1 innings), or an offense-first third baseman who would large benefit from a stacked lineup surrounding him?
What’s crazy is that both Frazier’s and Andújar’s numbers in 2017 weren’t even that good! You wouldn’t have traded this for a pitcher you ended up paying $324 million anyway?
- Andújar between AA/AAA in 2017 – .315 AVG, .850 OPS, 66 runs scored, 16 homers and 82 RBI in 125 games (he also debuted for five games with the Yankees and went 4-for-7 with four RBI)
- Frazier at AAA – .256 AVG, .816 OPS, 46 runs scored, 12 homers, 42 RBI in 74 games
- Frazier at MLB – .231 AVG, .715 OPS, 16 runs scored 4 homers, 17 RBI in 39 games
Hindsight is always 20/20, but looking at these numbers and knowing both had defensive issues, what held the Yankees back here?
It’s the constant complaint Yankees fans have concerning Cashman — he’s never willing to go to uncomfortable lengths to secure exactly what the team needs. To acquire that true difference maker. It’s always perfectly calculated deals to minimize risk in what feels like a fear of eventually looking stupid in two years.
Well, this took four years. And it was because of inaction. Maybe time to switch things up?