Remember when Miguel Andújar, through his agent, advocated for more playing time and a fairer chance during the Yankees' exemplary first half in 2022? One more finger on the monkey's paw curled on Monday afternoon.
After receiving a fairer shake with a Pittsburgh Pirates club that might be a year away from being a year away from serious playoff contention, Andújar found himself waived yet again this week, and ultimately claimed by the Oakland A's.
Pros, Andújar might eventually find himself spending a good deal of time in Las Vegas if he plays the long game. Cons, essentially everything else about a meaningless existence on MLB's most wayward franchise.
Fortunately for the A's, though, this move means they're one Clint Frazier addition away from a pretty tempting Juan Soto trade package.
Former Yankees third baseman Miguel Andújar claimed by Oakland A's
Andújar hit a helicopter homer against the Yankees in a series at PNC Park this past September, ultimately batting .250 with a .776 OPS in the 'Burgh in totality in 2023. Typically, those are the kind of numbers that get you re-upped during a rebuild ... but not for Andújar, who's had a cursed existence ever since his rookie campaign.
Opposing fan bases certainly got their chuckles and yuks in about Andújar's trade value over the years, though eventually, those hilarious gags about his presence in various trade packages were all coming from outside the house; Yankee fans had left him in the past. But, in reality, Andújar was a valuable bat following the 2018 season. The question marks were all based on his defense and defined lack of patience. He wasn't a Moneyball darling, but there genuinely was a time when it felt like the Yankees might rue pulling the plug on him too soon after his 47 doubles, 27 homers and .855 OPS in 2018 -- at the age of 23 -- led to a second-place finish behind Shohei Ohtani in Rookie of the Year voting. The Yankees didn't want to deal him for Gerrit Cole prior to that campaign; Andújar then proceeded to prove them right before everything went wrong.
On a routine dive back into third, he tore his labrum on a frigid April day in 2019 and everything changed. Gio Urshela stole his thunder, then was sent away himself after helping the Yankees stabilize the position with the glove Andújar lacked. Third base is now unmanned. Very little has ever been as good again as it was in 2018-19, when "Does Our 27-Homer Third Baseman Walk Enough?" was the Yankees' biggest worry.
Somewhere along the way, Andújar became a punchline because a bunch of people who don't watch or analyze the Yankees decided a 130 OPS+ was bad simply because it didn't reflect someone with the ceiling of Shohei Ohtani. Now, after a devasting inciting injury incident and several years of false starts, Andújar really is that bad, fighting for playing time with the lowly A's. But that doesn't mean those critics were correct. It just means they lucked out, and Andújar didn't, even after he got what he wished for.