It’d be a stretch to label the New York Yankees’ offseason as a success, so far.
After trading for James Paxton, general manager Brian Cashman lost out on Nathan Eovaldi and Patrick Corbin, prompting him to re-sign JA Happ in order to bolster his rotation.
As they pursue the defending World Series-champion Boston Red Sox, the Yankees are still one or two notable moves away from seriously challenging their arch rivals from Beantown.
That move could very well come in the form of splurging for free-agent infielder Manny Machado, who is beginning his nationwide tour to meet with interested teams this week. He’ll be meeting with Cashman and the Yankees on Wednesday.
While he would be an immediate replacement for the injured Didi Gregorius, the Yankees look as though they want to completely overhaul the left side of their infield. The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported on Monday that “a number of rival executives are convinced” that New York is looking to trade third baseman, Miguel Andujar.
Andujar’s name popped up in trade talks last week during Major League Baseball’s Winter Meetings, most notably in a proposed three-team deal between the Yankees, New York Mets, and Miami Marlins. The Mets would have received JT Realmuto while the Yankees would send Andujar to the Marlins and receive Noah Syndergaard.
Now dealing Andujar, who was the runner-up in the American League Rookie of the Year voting in 2018, while signing Machado would ensure the left side of the Yankees’ infield does not become jammed. Gregorius would return to shortstop while Machado slots in at third once the former fully recovers from Tommy John surgery.
But what if the Yankees have no intention of picking up Machado?
The 26-year-old’s value took a serious hit over the past few months after showing a lack of hustle during a subpar postseason. For a player possibly asking for a $300 million contract, he could prove to be quite an expensive risk for a Yankees team on the cusp of challenging for a championship.
Trading Andujar, which might not happen this winter, could open a spot up at third base for the Yankees to go all out on a pursuit of Colorado Rockies slugger Nolan Arenado, who becomes a free agent following the 2019 season.
The 27-year-old has been the premier offensive-hitting third baseman in baseball, averaging 40 home runs and 126 RBI per season dating back to 2015 while slashing .297/.358/.573. That’s not seen often in baseball history as he becomes joined Hall-of-Famer Jimmie Foxx as the only player to record three seasons with 35 home runs and 130 RBI before his 27th birthday.
But he’s only been to the postseason once in his six-year career, hinting that he’s unhappy in Colorado. Granted, he said the below statement in July before the Rockies rallied to win the NL Wild Card before losing to the Milwaukee Brewers in the NLDS.
“I don’t want to lose anymore. I just hate it,” He told USA Today Sports. “It’s tough on you… I want to win a division so we actually play a series. I see the Dodgers, and the guys over there, and they’ve won [the NL West] the last five years. I know some of the Giants’ players. They’ve got their World Series rings. I’m jealous.”
Joining the Yankees would make a formidable lineup that much more intimidating while skyrocketing his chances of getting that elusive World Series ring and New York trading Andujar would make it easy to slot Arenado straight into the plans.
If the 2019 season progresses and the Rockies are not in contention, the July trade deadline could feature Arenado as a prominent rental. Should the Yankees hold on to Andujar and would be willing to take the risk of re-signing Arenado next winter, it wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibilities to see a blockbuster deal go down this summer.