Tag: Miguel Andújar

Yankees Sign Troy Tulowitzki; DFA A.J. Cole

Tulowitzki will suit up at the same position as his idol, Derek Jeter.

January 4, 2019: The Yankees have officially announced the Tulowitzki signing, and have designated RHP A.J. Cole for assignment to clear a 40-man roster spot.

Cole made 28 relief appearances for the Yankees in 2018, mostly in a mop-up role. He had a stellar first few months, but the wheels fell off when he finished the season with a 8.40 ERA in August and September. All told, Cole finished with a 3-1 record and 4.26 ERA after his April 24 acquisition in a cash trade.

For Tulowitzki, the plan is for him to be the Opening Day shortstop should his health allow it. The Yankees internal options, namely Hanser Alberto, Thairo Estrada, Tyler Wade or a position shift for Gleyber Torres, were not deemed sufficient.

“I think the Troy Tulowitzki thing is about being open-minded and reactionary and making sure we’re exploring all options that present themselves,” Brian Cashman said during the introductory conference call. “I think this probably snuck up on a lot of people. We’re aiming high and we’re evaluating other options that present themselves, and Troy was a late entry into the available marketplace.”

For now, the Yankees will feature an all-righty infield of Miguel Andújar at the hot corner, Tulowitzki at shortstop, Torres at second base and Luke Voit at first.

January 3, 2019: According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, Tulowitzki will be undergoing his physical with the Yankees today.

After his release from the Toronto Blue Jays, the Yankees attended 34-year-old shortstop Troy Tulowitzki‘s free agent workout in California. Now, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, the Yankees are in agreement with the veteran on a one-year, league-minimum contract, pending a physical.

Passan notes that Tulowitzki “is expected to play shortstop for the Yankees while Didi Gregorius recovers from Tommy John surgery,” and that the move does not remove the Yankees from the Manny Machado sweepstakes.

Tulowitzki was released by Toronto on Dec. 11, allowing him to become a free agent and sign with any of the other 29 teams. The Blue Jays still owe him $38 million through the end of the 2020 season, but the Yankees will be responsible for a $555K salary. He last played consistently in 2016, when he slashed .254/.318/.443 (104 wRC+) in 131 games for the Blue Jays. He managed to be a 3.0 fWAR player that year because of stellar shortstop defense. He missed all of 2018 because of bone spurs in both of his heels that required surgery.

At league-minimum, this seems to be a low-risk, high-reward move for the Yankees. They can easily cut bait with Tulowitzki if he’s unable to perform at a high enough level or if his ugly injury history shows itself again.

I’m intrigued to see what this means for Miguel Andújar. If the Yankees also sign Machado, it seems Andújar’s only path to playing time with the Bombers would come at first base, left field (unlikely) or at designated hitter. Of course, they could also use him as a trade chip to bring in a high-profile starting pitcher as well.

Hot Stove Notes: Andújar, Britton, Galvis, Loup, Tulowitzki

The post-Winter Meetings period has been pretty slow, though the reliever market is starting to move and Brian Cashman has said that he wants to add two relievers before all is said and done. Let’s get into some of the storylines:

Miguel Andújar: Trade or Position Change?

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This is one of the more interesting storylines that seems like it will span the entire offseason and possibly into 2019: where is Miguel Andújar‘s long-term home? Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported Dec. 17 that “a number of rival executives are convinced the Yankees want to trade Andújar,” and posited that the San Diego Padres could be interested “considering their need for a third baseman and apparent willingness to settle for less defensive skill at the position.”

More recently, Jon Heyman of Fancred wrote that the Yankees like Andújar enough to move him across the infield should the team land Manny Machado to play shortstop, and when Didi Gregorius returns, third base. He suggests Andújar could move across the diamond to play first base, which seems like a natural move that would cut down on the type of awkward footwork that plagues him on defense.

Yankees “Among Lead Teams” on Zach Britton

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This one surprised me a bit: Heyman reported late Friday night that the Yankees (along with the Phillies) are “among lead teams” on securing Zach Britton. I would think the Yankees would love to bring Britton back after he posted a 2.88 ERA and 77.8% ground ball rate in 25 outings in pinstripes. I would think the Phillies would blow Britton away with the chance to be a closer and a paycheck to match the opportunity. The fact that it’s close at this point either indicates the Phillies aren’t yet backing up the truck for the southpaw, or that the Yankees are aggressively looking to maintain their super bullpen for 2019.

Yankees Interested in Freddy Galvis

There’s always the possibility that the Yankees do not land Machado to play shortstop (or third base) and they’re currently connected to a few alternatives with slick defensive skills to keep shortstop covered while Gregorius recovers. One such player is 29-year-old switch-hitter Freddy Galvis, who played in all 162 games in the past two seasons for the San Diego Padres. He’s known as a very solid defender and great clubhouse personality, but with little offensive value to add. His 85 wRC+ and 0.1 BsR shows below-average offense and league-average baserunning, but his defense allowed him to still be a 1.2 fWAR player for the Padres. I’d look for Galvis, who has also generated interest from the Mets and Pirates, to sign a deal similar to that of Jordy Mercer with the Tigers: 1-year, around $5 million.

Yankees Check In on Aaron Loup

With Andrew Miller off the market and Britton likely to receive a huge contract, the Yankees are also looking at other lefty options. One of those is Aaron Loup, the 31-year-old who made 59 appearances for Toronto and Philadelphia in 2018. He was great against lefties, holding them to a .678 OPS. But, right-handed hitter smacked him around to a .935 OPS, which is well higher than his .769 lifetime mark. The Yankees typically look for lefties who don’t have such a dramatic platoon split. I’d guess Loup remains unsigned deep into the offseason, since he’s coming off one of his worse statistical years.

Yanks “Intrigued” by Troy Tulowitzki

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He was Brian Cashman‘s man in 2010 before Derek Jeter was resigned. Now, Troy Tulowitzki is back on the Yankees’ radar, albeit under radically different circumstances than when the Yankee icon asked the general manager what shortstop he preferred. The Toronto Blue Jays released Tulowitzki from the final two years and $38 million on his contract, allowing him to be signed by any team for the league minimum. That led the Yankees to send “scout JT Stotts [to] watch Tulowitzki’s workout Wednesday at Long Beach State, where Tulowitzki, according to people in attendance, moved well defensively and shelved the closed stance he was working on in the cage during last spring training,” according to George A. King III of the New York Post. The Yankees could use Tulowitzki to fill their middle infield need, though I’d imagine he’s not their No. 1 priority.

Yankees, Mets, Marlins Discussing 3-Way Realmuto-Syndergaard Trade

Could the Yankees end up with an ace by helping their crosstown rivals?

Just as most on the East Coast were winding down for the night, baseball’s Hot Stove heated up in a huge way from the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas. The Athletic‘s Ken Rosenthal reported that the Yankees, Mets and Marlins had discussed a three-way deal where the Mets would acquire star catcher J.T. Realmuto from Miami, and in turn would send a starting pitcher like Noah Syndergaard to the Bronx.

Nothing was imminent, and SNY’s Andy Martino did report “there are ’10 other scenarios’ Mets are considering” in a trade for Realmuto. The Mets have been especially active on the trade market, and have been looking to upgrade the catcher position for a while now. Should they be unable to land Realmuto, they’re expected to pivot to free-agent Yasmani Grandal.

Jon Heyman of Fancred was the first to suggest that the Yankees, who insisted Gary Sánchez was their catcher for 2019, were connected to Realmuto for the sake of facilitating a three-way trade. The obvious advantage for the Yankees would be the chance to acquire a marquee starter like Syndergaard at a slight discount should they assist with the acquisition of Realmuto.

Martino also noted that the Yankees were “interested in Mets pitching, not necessarily limited to Syndergaard”. Other appealing pitchers include Jacob deGrom (of course, that’s unlikely), Steven Matz (under control for years but often injured) and Zack Wheeler (rental). The only named mentioned by reporters last night was that of Syndergaard, though the Yankees had scouted Wheeler at the 2018 Trade Deadline.

I’d expect the Yankees top chips like Miguel Andújar, Estevan Florial and more to be on the table if someone of Syndergaard’s quality is being discussed. Andújar is only being moved for someone that good. If talks were to pivot to someone like Matz or Wheeler, I’d be taking both Andújar and Florial off the table. Max Wildstein of Gotham Sports Network mentioned Chance Adams, Clint Frazier, Sonny Gray, Mike King and Jonathan Loáisiga as possibilities to be moved.

Martino said the Yankees were “pushing hard” to make a deal, though it’s unclear where the three teams left talks. The push for Realmuto will be intense, and it’s unclear if the Mets (and the three-team scenario with the Yankees) is the package they’ll accept.


Miguel Andújar Wins Players Choice for AL Outstanding Rookie

Despite losing the official American League Rookie of the Year Award to Los Angeles Angels two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani, Yankees third baseman Miguel Andújar is not going home empty-handed. The 23-year-old was announced as the 2018 Players Choice for AL Outstanding Rookie on Wednesday.

Andújar was called up April 1 after Billy McKinney‘s shoulder injury in Toronto, and never looked back. He took over full-time at third base after Brandon Drury‘s migraines, and was incredible. He was the AL Rookie of the Month for both June and August, and tied with Boston’s Mookie Betts for third-most doubles in the MLB with 47. That tied Boston’s Fred Lynn for most doubles in a season by a rookie, which was done in 1975.

Overall, Andújar hit .297/.328/.527 (128 wRC+) with 27 home runs and 92 RBIs in 149 games. The defensive metrics were less kind to him, however, tagging him at -25 defensive runs saved and -24.5 UZR/150. That’s always been Andújar’s biggest weak point, though he’s frequently observed taking extra infield work before games.

There have been rumblings about Andújar’s place on the 2019 Yankees, as speculation swirls around free agent Manny Machado and his superior defense. Andújar was given a 70 out of 80 for his arm, and certainly has enough athleticism to learn the outfield. I figure the Yankees would try this before relegating an able-bodied 23-year-old to being a full-time designated hitter.

Steinbrenner: Machado’s Hustle Comments “Troubling”

“Because that ain’t gonna sell where we play baseball. That conversation will happen no matter who it is.”

It seems Manny Machado would have some explaining to do if he were to become a Yankee. The team’s managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner told Ken Davidoff of the New York Post that the infielder’s comments about his style of play were “troubling” and would require an explanation.

“If it’s a $300 million guy or a $10 million guy, clearly those comments are troubling,” Steinbrenner told a small group of reporters. “But that’s really [general manager Brian Cashman’s] job. If we’re interested in any player, sit down with him face to face and ask him, ‘Where did this come from? What was the context around the entire interview? Was there a point you were trying to [make]? How do you justify it?’ Because that ain’t gonna sell where we play baseball. That conversation will happen no matter who it is.”

The comments in question, of course, come from the Oct. 16 interview Machado gave to Ken Rosenthal where the 26-year-old said his style of play did not include hustling 100% on every play.

“Obviously I’m not going to change, I’m not the type of player that’s going to be ‘Johnny Hustle,’ and run down the line and slide to first base and … you know, whatever can happen. That’s just not my personality, that’s not my cup of tea, that’s not who I am,” Machado said. “Should I have given it a little more effort? One hundred percent. (It’s) my fault like always, I mean that’s just my mentality when I’m in the game. (There are) things that you learn, things that you gotta change. I’ve tried changing it for eight years and I still can’t figure it out but, one of these days I will.”

Machado’s comments combined with a .670 OPS in the playoffs left the star shortstop at a disadvantage heading into free agency for the first time in his career. Players with his talent and youth don’t hit the market often, and he should still cash in with a big contract. But, there will always be questions about his effort and reputation as a “dirty player,” to use the words of Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich.

The Yankees have an obvious hole at shortstop now with Didi Gregorius slated to miss the first half of 2019 at the very least. They could stand to upgrade defensively at third base with Miguel Andújar‘s -15.5 defensive WAR coming in at seventh-worst in all of baseball for 2018. The Yankees have been doing their due diligence on Machado, but have to be weighing whether the signing is worth the inevitable media circus that will come with it.

The very “Yankees” thing to do would be to fill Gregorius’s spot with the best (and most expensive) option. I see them making a serious run at Machado, being careful to avoid a bidding war and albatross contract like Jacoby Ellsbury‘s. C’mon, guys who average 128 wRC+ over their last three seasons don’t just grow on trees.

Ohtani Tops Andújar, Torres for AL Rookie of the Year

The Baseball Writers’ Association of America delivered their verdict for AL Rookie of the Year, selecting pitcher/DH Shohei Ohtani over Yankees 3B Miguel Andújar and SS/2B Gleyber Torres.

Ohtani won 25 out of 30 first-place votes in what ended up being a surprising landslide decision. Andújar received the remaining five first-place votes, 20 for second-place and four third-place votes. Torres received just three second-place votes and 16 third-place votes.

Working around a few disabled list stints, Ohtani turned in an impressive .285/.361/.564 (152 wRC+) hitting line that was bolstered by 51⅔ innings of 3.31 ERA pitching. The 24-year-old will only hit next season after undergoing Tommy John surgery on his right arm.

Andújar’s rookie season was a bit of surprise to a fan base salivating for the debut of Torres. He hit .297/.328/.527 (128 wRC+) after beginning the season in Triple-A. He ended up playing in 149 of the team’s 162 games, and finished behind just Aaron Hicks and Giancarlo Stanton with 21.3 batting runs (offensive component of WAR). The defense, however, was a whole different issue. He was credited with a -15.5 defense WAR rating, which plummeted his overall value to just 2.7 fWAR.

Torres played in 123 of the Yankees games in 2018, hitting .271/.340/.480 (120 wRC+). He injected some youthful energy into the team, even though that sometimes led to poor baserunning and defensive lapses. But, he demonstrated that he will easily grow into one of the best middle infielders in the MLB with more experience.

Atlanta Braves outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. beat out finalists OF Juan Soto (Nationals) and RHP Walker Buehler (Dodgers) to win the National League Rookie of the Year.

Heyman: Yanks “Will Look Into Machado”

A step up from “lukewarm”.

Jon Heyman of Fancred has reported that the Yankees will, at the very least, “look into” signing free agent infielder Manny Machado this offseason. This report paints the Yankees as more favorable towards a run at the mercurial star, after it was previously reported that the team was “lukewarm” on a pursuit of the 26-year-old.

Machado hit .315/.387/.575 with 24 homers and 65 RBIs in 96 games for Baltimore before being traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers and finishing the year hitting .273/.338/.487 with 13 more home runs and 42 additional RBI. That led to an overall .297/.367/.538 batting line and 37 home runs, which matches a career-high.

But, a .672 OPS in the 2018 postseason and controversies about how he handles himself have led to questions about an all-out pursuit of Machado. That is likely what led the Yankees to be just “lukewarm” on one of the most hyped free agents of all-time. I’d also imagine that term was leaked in order to safeguard the Yankees’ leverage in any potential negotiations.

The Yankees attempted to pry Machado away from the Orioles at the 2018 Trade Deadline, and have been connected to the superstar on a few different occasions. Didi Gregorius is set to miss most of the 2018 season with Tommy John surgery, and there have been consistent questions about Miguel Andújar‘s defensive abilities at third base. Those two spots are obvious fits for Machado with his elite offensive and defensive abilities.

MLB Trade Rumors, which does an annual prediction series on the fates of their Top 50 Free Agents, believes Machado will sign a record-breaking 13-year, $390 million deal with the Philadelphia Phillies. That’s the second-biggest contract prediction in their article, as they also predict Bryce Harper will land an unprecedented 14-year, $420 million deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

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