Chicago Cubs: Miguel Andujar should be on the team’s radar

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 04: Miguel Andujar #41 of the New York Yankees follows through on a sixth inning single against the Minnesota Twins at Yankee Stadium on May 04, 2019 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 04: Miguel Andujar #41 of the New York Yankees follows through on a sixth inning single against the Minnesota Twins at Yankee Stadium on May 04, 2019 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /
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The Chicago Cubs are likely to be active on the trade market this year, and the young Yankees third baseman Miguel Andujar is the kind of cheap, controllable player they could use.

So far this offseason, the Chicago Cubs have made it reasonably clear that they have no plans to spend big in free agency yet again. While this might come off as frustrating, there are more than enough options free on the trade market to look into.

Of those options, Miguel Andujar of the Yankees is an intriguing piece to look at. Andujar, who turned in an impressive showing in his rookie year, came crashing down to earth in 2019 due to injuries but is still worth a look.

In 2018, Andujar was runner-up for Rookie of the Year, batting a remarkable .297/.328/.527, which was suitable for a 130 OPS+. During that time, he also racked up a solid 27 home runs, demonstrating his potential as a power corner at third base.

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2019, however, saw Andujar struggle with serious injuries that ultimately ended in him needing surgery to repair the labrum in his right shoulder. In the 12 games he played in, he racked up a miserable -1.0 WAR and a -20 OPS+.

The Yankees may be willing to move Andujar with Gio Urshela emerging as a top-notch third base candidate. It’s also hard to believe Andujar would repeat that performance through a full year, but where would he play if the Cubs traded for him?

Perhaps if they move Kris Bryant at some point in the offseason, Andujar could slot in there, making for a far cheaper and more controllable option to anchor third base. Bryant is perhaps the team’s most prominent trade chip, but moving him will leave a hole in the offense, which Andujar could fill relatively well.

The issue for the Cubs is that they don’t exactly have anything the Yankees would want. As I said, they don’t have a hole at third base. Still, they also lack a hole in the outfield with Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Hicks, Clint Frazier, Brett Gardener, Mike Tauchman, and, yes, even Jacoby Ellsbury all fighting for spots.

They also don’t have a hole at catcher, leaving Willson Contreras out of the question in a potential deal. Granted, Willson should be out of the question anyway. Outside of that, though, the Cubs don’t have a lot to offer and likely would be left giving up one of their few more prominent prospects, unless a three-team trade is involved.

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Still, if Bryant leaves and the teams could work out a deal, the years of control on Andujar combined with the lower cost could give the team the kind of window-extending player they need. If his rookie season were any indication of the player he’d become, Andujar will be an interesting talking point not just for the Chicago Cubs, but for all of the teams around the league.

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