A certain subset of the Yankees fanbase wants to see Brian Cashman acquire a new third baseman in the offseason, but the job belongs to Miguel Andujar.
Miguel Andujar may have endured a terrible rookie season in the field, but the Yankees aren’t going to give up on him as their third baseman of the future. General Manager Brian Cashman is already giving Andujar a major vote of confidence before the offseason truly begins.
Cashman certainly knows there are whispers about the team giving up on Andujar. That’s why he made a point to set the record straight in the media on Wednesday. Specifically, he told the Michael Kay Show that he believes Andujar will grow into being the organization’s everyday third baseman. He acknowledged that defense is something Andujar must work on, but expressed confidence in his ability to make progress with this glove.
In fairness, none of this should come as a surprise to Yankees fans. The injury to Didi Gregorius already leaves the team short of one starting infielder to start the 2019 campaign. Creating another hole by moving Andujar always seemed like a long shot.
It also doesn’t benefit Cashman to express anything other than complete confidence in Andujar at the moment. Communicating any doubt about his ability to develop defensively would only hurt the Yankees chances of getting equal value in a trade. That doesn’t mean Cashman isn’t being truthful. We’re just saying that it’s in his best interest to promote his players values at every possible opportunity.
It’s still overwhelmingly likely that Andujar will be the starting third baseman for the Yankees on Opening Day. He’s clearly got the ability to become an elite hitter. Any player who tops Joe DiMaggio for the team’s record for doubles by a rookie has star potential. Giving up on a player with that kind of offensive ability after one season wouldn’t be excellent long-range planning by the organization.
That doesn’t mean Andujar isn’t going to be under serious pressure this spring. Every time he fields a ground ball at third he’s going to be under a microscope. That kind of scrutiny will challenge his mental makeup as much as his physical abilities. Time will tell whether or not that pressure makes Andujar crack or turns him into a diamond.
All we really know at this point is that the Yankees plan to keep Andujar at third for the near future. Things can change quickly when the hot stove starts to heat up, but you can take Cashman for his word at the present point in time.