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Royals Reportedly Interested in Miguel Andujar

Kansas City may have its eyes set on a former Yankees standout who's declined over the years.

As the Kansas City Royals wind down their 2022 season, the club will soon begin looking for ways to add organizational depth and improve the team's overall outlook heading into the 2023 campaign. That process may be starting sooner rather than later, as Kansas City is reportedly expressing interest in former New York Yankees infielder/outfielder Miguel Andujar per Jack Curry of YES Network

Hearing the KC Royals are interested in Miguel Andujar, who was DFA'd by the Yankees yesterday.

- Jack Curry (@JackCurryYES) on Friday, Sept. 23, 2022 at 5:12 p.m. CST

With veteran relief pitcher Zack Britton coming off the 60-day injured list and being ready to rejoin the Yankees in Boston against the Red Sox, Andujar was optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in order to make room on the club's 40-man roster. Despite many trade rumors and even requests from Andujar's camp in the recent past, New York kept him around past MLB's Aug. 2 trade deadline and is now potentially subjecting him to the league's waiver system. Assuming he doesn't end up back with the Yankees, this could mean that Andujar is on the move in the near future.

Andujar burst onto the scene back in 2018, playing in 149 games and finishing in second place in American League Rookie of the Year voting. That year, he slashed .297/.328/.527 with a .855 OPS, 27 home runs and a whopping 47 doubles. He also drove in 92 runs and recorded a pair of triples, serving as an all-around force at the plate for New York. Injuries and a lack of consistent playing time have derailed his once-promising career since then, as Andujar has played in just 105 big-league games from 2019-2022 and has posted a 56 wRC+ over that span.

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A 3.7 fWAR player back in 2018, Andujar has been worth a combined -1.7 fWAR in the years since. His defense, in particular, continues to be an area of struggle and he's spent more time in left field recently (performing better) after seemingly losing most of his ability at third base. Andujar spent 71 games in Triple-A this year, posting a .285 batting average and looking more like the player New York grew to know in his first full year with the team. At the major league level, however, his 49 wRC+ and .229/.250/.281 slash in 2022 weren't even close to enough to convince manager Aaron Boone to put him in the lineup more often.

Now 27 years old and set to turn 28 in March, Andujar may be down to one last shot to prove that he's worth rostering for an MLB team. He's arbitration eligible in 2023 and 2024 before being slated to hit the open market, which is something that could help draw some interest from other organizations. If the Royals intently pursue him, their poor standing in the AL helps their waiver order and could come in handy in that event. It remains to be seen whether Andujar will be able to get his career back on track but if there's one franchise that isn't afraid to invest in a reclamation project, it's Kansas City. At any rate, the situation is worth monitoring moving forward.

UPDATE: On Sunday afternoon, the Yankees announced via Twitter that Andujar was claimed off waivers by the Pittsburgh Pirates organization.