MLB Trade Rumors: A New York Yankees/Texas Rangers deal involving Mike Minor and Miguel Andujar could be a viable Plan B for both teams if they miss out on their preferred top free agent options (Gerrit Cole and Anthony Rendon, respectively), according to Richard Justice. Justice includes both the Yankees and the Rangers in his highlighting of five teams who have their sights set high this offseason, and what their backup options could be if they miss out on their primary targets.
The problem with these sorts of columns at this time of year is that it is hard to discern what is the author’s speculation versus what is the author’s educated opinion based on information gleaned from sources. If this is Richard Justice just spitballing, or using knowledge of each team’s interest in the others player and the need each has to fill a bullet point in a listicle, its not all that meaningful.
That being said, this isn’t the first report that the Rangers have interest in Andujar, who missed almost all of 2019 after finishing second in the American League Rookie of the Year balloting in 2018. Andujar, who turns 25 in March, is exactly the type of righthanded power bat that the Rangers need in the middle of their lineup, particularly if they miss out on Rendon and Josh Donaldson.
The problem for the Rangers is that Andujar had labrum surgery on his right shoulder last year, which could impact his throwing arm — a rather important part of third base defense. And even before the surgery, Andujar was seen as a rather abysmal defender at the hot corner — he had a -25 DRS in 2018 and a -16 UZR, meaning that, despite his slashing .297/.328/.527, he was just a two and a half win player by fWAR and bWAR. Andujar seemed to be destined for DH duty anyway at some point, and if his throwing arm is impacted by the surgery, he may not be a viable option at third base any more at all — which would seem to make him less of a fit for the Rangers, who already have a number of DH types.
As for the Yankees, they reportedly had interest in Minor this past July, but ended up not making a deal. They have James Paxton, Masahiro Tanaka, Luis Severino and J.A. Happ currently in the rotation, though Happ’s disappointing 2019 campaign has led to speculation that the Yankees could look to subsidize his contract to move him off their books. If they miss on Cole, they could see Minor as more desirable than any of the next tier of free agent starting pitchers, though parting with Andujar in order to get him would seem to be a steep price to pay.
This seems like something that may have been bandied about internally, and I suspect that the Rangers and Yankees will talk about Andujar and Minor as the offseason progresses, but I am skeptical this is something with much of a chance of coming to fruition. But who knows...I would have said the same thing about an Ian Kinsler/Prince Fielder swap in November, 2013.