The Yankees optioned Miguel Andujar to their Alternate Site in Scranton on Thursday, one of a flurry of roster moves to set their 28-man roster prior to MLB’s deadline for the drop from 30 to 28.
The move has come with mixed reaction from fans and pundits alike; some love it, some hate it, and some, like our friends at 105.3 The Fan in Dallas, are taking it as an opportunity to, once again, pine for their teams to trade for Miggy.
However you feel about it, there are five reasons why optioning Miguel Andujar was the right move for the Yankees right now.
No. 1: Stats Don’t LieMiggy Two Bags became a thing in 2018, but in 2020, he’s literally Miggy One Bag – as in, he has one hit, a single, so he has one total base. A lot of Yankees are scuffling early on – 11 games in, Gary Sanchez was under .100, and both Brett Gardner and Gleyber Torres were on the interstate – but Andujar has one hit. Gio Urshela, meanwhile, entered Game 12 with the highest qualified OPS on the team, so if Andujar is going to play a position he’s unfamiliar with (left field and/or first base), he needs to hit. He hasn’t, plain and simple.
No. 2: Learning Curve, Offense EditionLet’s face it: even as a super-sub at two or three positions, Andujar wasn’t getting regular at-bats. 14 plate appearance in 11 games is barely 1.25 per game, and unless you’re a veteran pinch-hitter on an NL team in days gone by, that’s not enough. Miggy missed almost all of last year, and he has 63 plate appearances since the 2018 ALDS. He needs every day reps in the box, which he wouldn’t be getting in the Bronx.
No. 3: Learning Curve, Defense EditionAndujar is functional in left field, and functional at first base, but the ideal isn’t to learn those positions on the fly in the Majors (ask Rob Refsnyder). Why not go to Scranton, where he can focus on defense without having to worry about offensive numbers? If this were a “normal” season, chances are Miggy might have spent some time in Scranton anyway just based on what happened last year and this spring, so why not do it now, early in the year, when the Yankees are hot and he’s not?
No. 4: Roster ManipulationNow we get into the fun part. Andujar, Thairo Estrada, and Nick Nelson (replaced by Nick Tropeano) were the roster casualties as the MLB mandate knocked rosters from 30 to 28 on Thursday, and with several starters either struggling or still building up (plus a doubleheader this weekend), the Yankees needed to keep 15 pitchers for now. That left four bench spots, and after Tyler Wade, Kyle Higashioka, and Mike Tauchman, it was down to Andujar and Mike Ford for a spot that will disappear in two weeks when rosters go down again to 26. Ford isn’t exactly lighting it up either, but as a lefty hitter on a team that plays nine games at Yankee Stadium in the next two weeks, he’s the better option with a shorter bench. Wade can handle the outfield in a pinch and Giancarlo Stanton is an outfielder, after all.
No. 5: Service TimeAnd now, the real fun part, because this is the consideration the Yankees can’t tell you about (or else it could be considered tampering). Andujar came into this season with two years and 20 days of service time, and with each day on the active roster this year counting for roughly 2.8 when extrapolated out, there are two considerations here: first, in a normal year, 172 of 187 days on the active roster or injured list earns a player a full year; and second, since he has two-plus years, the equivalent of 152 days (which this year is 55) would push Andujar to three years, the threshold for salary arbitration.
Do the math: Andujar becomes arbitration-eligible if he spends more than 54 days on the MLB roster, so two weeks at the alternate site now means an extra year of Andujar in pinstripes later. The Yankees wouldn’t be too worried about him being a “Super Two” – a player who gets four trips through arbitration instead of three because they finish a season in the top 22 percent of service time for players with more than two but less than three full years – because even if Miggy rakes when he returns, he has one full great season, one lost season, and one wacky season on his resume, but having Andujar in 2024 is well worth a small sacrifice now.