Cubs: Miguel Andujar profiles as a perfect change-of-scenery candidate
The trade deadline is looming and Cubs fans are strapping in for what is expected to be round two of the purge. No one on this team, with rare exceptions including Seiya Suzuki and Nico Hoerner are safe.
We’re preparing to bid farewell to fan favorite backstop Willson Contreras and have to hold our breath to see what happens with Ian Happ, Patrick Wisdom and several other guys on the roster. While the Cubs are big sellers, looking into partnering with teams with ‘change of scenery’ candidates could bring back even more value.
One name the Cubs should check in on is Miguel Andujar of the Yankees. The 27-year-old third baseman is the definition of a player who needs a change of scenery. Picked up in 2011 from the international class, Andujar became a top prospect in Yankees system. He’s spent six seasons with New York but has only one full season to his name in 2018. That season, his rookie year, he posted a .297 average, .855 OPS and was runner-up to Shohei Ohtani for AL Rookie of the Year.
Since that breakout campaign, Andujar has struggled to stay healthy and, on top of that, the Yankees traded for Josh Donaldson and have him locked up until 2025. The once-touted prospect just hasn’t found his footing in New York and now doesn’t have a clear path to an everyday role at the hot corner. He becomes a viable trade option as a result.
Cubs can afford to explore alternatives at the hot corner moving forward
How do the Cubs tie into this? Right now, Patrick Wisdom handles third base duties for the Cubs, earning $730,000 this season while under team control through 2027 via arbitration. While Wisdom owns a .789 OPS with the Cubs and finished fourth in NL Rookie of the Year voting in 2021, the front office isn’t set on his future with the team.
As fun as Wisdom has been to watch in terms of his pop (28 home runs in 2021) and charisma, his strikeout rate is concerning. He racked up 153 in 106 games last year and leads the NL with 126 so far this season. As the Cubs look to bring in more contact and consistency to their roster, Wisdom’s style doesn’t seem to fit in with the larger picture.
On the other hand, Andujar, when healthy, has the potential to bring in that more consistent approach the Cubs are looking for. He owns a career average of .276 with a .765 OPS. While the power isn’t as strong as Wisdom, the contact and ability to hit for average is in a better place.
While Andujar makes about a half a million more, he’s three years younger and has a ceiling that is a better fit for what the Cubs want to do moving forward. The opportunity is right there for the front office to make a move to lock up a third baseman at a low point in his career.
Not only does this piece work for the Cubs, the Yankees are in need of pieces we can offer to help them shore up their roster for the World Series run they are set to go on. They need a bat and a now an arm after the news of Michael King fracturing his elbow. Ian Happ and David Robertson are two very valuable names that the Yankees are sure to be in the market for. The match is there for these two to parter at the trade deadline, whether Andujar is involved or not.
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We know the Cubs are in rebuild mode whether they want to admit it or not. However, while they look to add to the farm system, looking for trade partners that can provide MLB-ready talent would be a wise thing to do if this group is serious about competing in 2023.