Pittsburgh Pirates: Miguel Andujar Could Be a Trade Target

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 30: Miguel Andujar #41 of the New York Yankees follows through at bat during the first inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Yankee Stadium on June 30, 2021 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 30: Miguel Andujar #41 of the New York Yankees follows through at bat during the first inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Yankee Stadium on June 30, 2021 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /
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New York Yankees’ Miguel Andujar is asking for a trade and the Pittsburgh Pirates could use him to help the first base situation.

The Pittsburgh Pirates have been using patchwork at first base, at least in a platoon sense. Although Michale Chavis has done his end of the work as the right-handed end, Yoshi Tsutsugo had struggled mightily before his injury. Mason Martin also has just a .538 OPS since May 25th. With Josh VanMeter now on the injured list after being on a hot streak, the Pirates have turned to waiver claim Yu Chang, for now.

The Pittsburgh Pirates need to find something better at first base right now. They’ve gotten minimal production outside of Chavis from the position. The team might find a solution in New York Yankees’ corner infielder/outfielder Miguel Andujar, who recently asked for a trade. This came after the Yankees re-activated former MVP Giancarlo Stanton from the injured list and Andujar was optioned to Triple-A

Andujar has taken a hard fall from grace over the last few campaigns. In 2018, Andujar looked like he may be the next big thing in New York. The third baseman batted .297/.328/.527 with 27 homers and 47 doubles, en route to a .361 wOBA and 129 wRC+.

Although Andujar was one of the best hitting rookies of the ’18 rookie class, he was arguably one of the worst fielders in all of baseball. Andujar had -27 DRS, a -24.5 UZR/150, and -7 outs above average. Regardless of his defense, the Yankees’ rookie finished second in Rookie Of The Year voting, ahead of teammate Gleyber Torres and behind two-way star Shohei Ohtani.

However, injuries have ravaged the former American League Rookie of the Year runner-up’s career. Since 2019, Andujar has appeared in just 90 games and has just 319 plate appearances. When he has played, he hasn’t played very well. In the last four years, Andujar has just a .589 OPS, .256 wOBA, and 60 wRC+. Because of his poor defense at the hot corner, the Yankees have played Andujar more in left field. He has 93 innings logged at third but 435.1 innings in left field.

So how could Andujar help at first base? Currently, he only has 37 innings logged as a professional at first, but the Yankees have toyed with the idea of Andujar at first in the past. This isn’t to say that Andujar will re-find his 2018 self, but the current 1B situation is dire. Yu Chang has a career .626 OPS and has seven strikeouts through his first 10 plate appearances, and Tsutusgo has a wRC+ of 60. If healthy (and that is a massive ‘if’), Andujar could find some sense of productivity at the plate.

But Andujar is a right-handed bat. How can he help if we platoon him with Chavis? Andujar has reverse-career splits. He has hit just .248/.288/.429 against righties but has hit for a quality .291/.317/.477 line against southpaws. That’s an OPS just a few ticks below .800. The Pirates would get pretty good production at first if they paired that kind of production with Chavis’ 183 wRC+ against southpaws this year.

You also have to remember that Andujar still isn’t very old. He’s in his age-27 campaign and was considered one of the best third base prospects in the sport during the late-2010’s. It’s been more of an issue of injuries over performance. The Pirates would be taking almost no risk by acquiring Andujar.

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The Yankees would be selling very low on Andujar. The Pittsburgh Pirates likely wouldn’t even have to give up a prospect in the top 50 of the organization. If that’s all it would take to acquire Andujar, then the Pirates should at least kick the tires on the idea of acquiring him to play some first base. It would be a low-cost acquisition for essentially zero risk.

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