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Why the Yankees Decided to Designate Miguel Andújar For Assignment

The Yankees designated Miguel Andújar for assignment on Thursday.
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NEW YORK — Miguel Andújar is getting his wish.

Three months after he requested a trade from the Yankees, upset with his lack of playing time with the big-league club, New York designated Andújar for assignment.

That transaction ended an 11-year run for Andújar within the organization. The 27-year-old originally signed with the club in 2011, working his way up to the Bronx as one of the team's highest-ranked prospects before debuting in 2017. He proceeded to finish second in the race for the American League Rookie of the Year race in 2018 before bouncing between the Yankees, Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and the injured list over the next several years. 

Over parts of six MLB seasons, Andújar slashed .273/.303/.449 with the Yankees, hitting 35 home runs with 122 RBI. He transitioned from a third baseman to a bit of a utilityman along the way as well, building some experience in left field and at first base. 

New York has been trying to get rid of Andújar throughout this season. They reportedly looked for a deal leading up to the trade deadline. That said, general manager Brian Cashman explained in July that he never actively tries to move a player just because they requested a trade. 

"Obviously, if something makes sense, we'd do something," Cashman said. "But obviously, clearly through this point, we feel like he's more valuable to us than me doing anything that has been presented to me up to this point.”

So, why designate him for assignment with only a few weeks remaining in the regular season then?

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The answer on Thursday is Zack Britton's return from the 60-day injured list. While fellow left-handed reliever Wandy Peralta needing to go on the 15-day IL with a back issue opened the door for Britton to return to the active roster, New York still needed to make a move to free a spot on the 40-man roster. With nobody else in line to be placed on the 60-day injured list and the trade deadline in the past, there truly weren't too many choices for the Yankees to make.

Now, Andújar will either be traded or sent to waivers. If he clears, Andújar can accept an assignment to the minor leagues within the Yankees organization. That's what happened with players like Ryan Weber and Rob Brantly, for instance, after they were DFA'd this year. It's hard to imagine Andújar would willingly go back to Scranton, though. He's made it crystal clear that he doesn't want to be in Triple-A anymore. Therefore, if no other team picks him up, he'll likely be released. 

Even with his injury history and inability to stick with those in pinstripes, you have to figure another team will take a chance on Andújar, right? He has plenty of upside at the plate and has improved incrementally on defense as well. Perhaps a National League team looking for a designated hitter.

For the Yankees, a club trying to win a World Series this year, the ability to get Peralta healthy and give Britton a chance to show what he can do—returning from Tommy John surgery with two weeks left in the regular season—outweigh Andújar's future. Besides, it's hard to pinpoint exactly how Andújar would've factored into the playing time equation in 2023 and beyond as well, especially considering he's running out of options. 

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