Less than a week after assuming responsibility for the baseball side of a troubled franchise, KC Royals Executive Vice President and General Manager J. J. Picollo could already be considering a move to bring a new big leaguer to Kansas City.
The evidence that Picollo and the Royals may pursue Yankee infielder-outfielder Miguel Andújar isn’t conclusive, but at least one source close to the Yankees, YES Network Yankee analyst Jack Curry, has reported via Twitter that KC is “interested” in Miguel Andújar, who the club designated for assignment Thursday.
Generally speaking, the Yanks have seven days from Thursday to place Andújar on outright or release waivers. If the Royals claim him and no other club with a worse record does, they get him.
But is he worth having?
Miguel Andújar is a player who might have some appeal for the KC Royals.
That Kansas City might find Andújar attractive isn’t surprising, at least at first blush. He has talent—no player who as a rookie hit .297, homered 27 times, drove in 92 runs and posted a 130 OPS+, as he did in 2018, doesn’t.
But Andújar hasn’t come close to those numbers since. He’s hit only eight big league homers and batted .128 in 2019, .242 in 2020 and .253 last year. His pre-DFA 2022 Yankee line is .229/.250/.281, although he had a .285 average with 13 home runs at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
And while Andújar’s various injuries (right shoulder strain, right labrum tear, left wrist sprain), explain in part why he hasn’t outperformed, or even equaled, his rookie stats, they don’t completely excuse his poor production.
He also doesn’t seem happy in New York.
The KC Royals may think about Miguel Andújar, but shouldn’t pursue him.
Assuming Kansas City and Picollo are indeed interested in Andújar, they need to pass. Yes, he can and has played third base and the corner outfield positions, still uncertain spots for the Royals, but, together with his lack of good major league numbers for four straight seasons, here are several reasons why.
Nate Eaton. Bobby Witt Jr. Adalberto Mondesi. Nicky Lopez. Edward Olivares. Kyle Isbel. Drew Waters. MJ Melendez.
These current Royals are candidates to fill the spots Andújar can play. Eaton is regularly playing third in Kansas City and, boosted by a .375 September, is hitting .274 with a .344 OBP in 35 rookie season games. Witt alternates between shortstop and third and has 20 homers, 30 doubles, 77 RBIs and 28 steals in his rookie campaign. Mondesi’s ACL tear and corrective surgery have sidelined him since April and, although they shouldn’t, the Royals will likely bring him back next season, and he’s also spent time at the hot corner, as has Lopez.
And the outfielders? Rookie Melendez appears to have a strong claim to left field. Olivares is once again proving he can hit big league pitching, which makes him a strong candidate for right field next season. Isbel’s 2022 numbers are disappointing (.205/.257/.325) but, unless they trade him, the Royals aren’t likely to give up on him just yet. And while Waters, acquired from the Braves in July, isn’t hitting spectacularly, the club is clearly high on him and his ability to man any outfield position.
The bottom line? On top of his questionable glove—he has a career .948 major league fielding percentage, including .933 at third and .982 in the outfield—Andújar would unnecessarily impede the progress of those young Royals. And with their plethora of infielders capable of starting, or filling utility roles, they don’t need another reserve candidate.
Picollo needs to pass.
Kansas City shouldn’t go after Miguel Andújar.