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Fixing the Yankees’ inevitable Urshela-Andujar debate

TORONTO — OK, let’s tackle the Urshela within the room.

Ever since Gio Urshela emerged as a Yankees hero at giant in April, changing the injured Miguel Andujar with a superior all-around sport at third base, forward-thinking Yankees followers have written and puzzled: What’s going to occur subsequent 12 months?

I punted. Let issues play out by way of the season, I endorsed. When Urshela managed solely a .682 OPS in June, and the Yankees’ acquisition of Edwin Encarnacion in the midst of that month seemingly pushed DJ LeMahieu away from first base and towards extra begins on the sizzling nook, it appeared the dilemma would resolve itself.

That didn’t occur. Quite the opposite, Urshela’s significance and worth to the Yankees has solely elevated by way of the course of the season.
Therefore the “Subsequent 12 months?” situation turns into extra substantive. And right here’s my early-August answer:

By no means ought to the Yankees uproot Urshela from the beginning third-base job. If Andujar can get well from the correct shoulder surgical procedure that prematurely ended his season, let him rotate across the sizzling nook, first base, designated hitter and perhaps even some outfield.

In Thursday evening’s 12-6 thumping of the Blue Jays — the crew that bought Urshela to the Yankees a couple of 12 months in the past — Urshela hit two homers and drove house 4 runs for the second straight evening, giving him a 1.737 OPS for August. He rebounded from his June dip with a 1.041 OPS final month. And with each Encarnacion and Luke Voit on the injured record, LeMahieu’s companies have been wanted at first base extra usually, leaving third base free for Urshela.

Gio Urshela; Miguel Andujar
Gio Urshela; Miguel AndujarRon Sachs / CNP; Paul J. Bereswill

Requested after Thursday evening’s sport about Urshela, who had a uncommon quiet evening going 0-for-Three with a stroll within the Yankees’ 8-2 loss to the Blue Jays Friday evening, and his fellow no-name surger Mike Tauchman, Aaron Boone stated: “Look, they’ve been affect gamers for us. They do it on either side of the ball. It’s are available a whole lot of large conditions. I don’t know what number of extra methods we will describe it. They’ve labored onerous at getting higher at their craft. They’ve performed a great job of getting a plan going into the sport, they usually’re going out and executing, and you may see it within the confidence that they’re displaying of their sport at this degree.”

The analytical metrics proceed to not love Urshela’s protection at third. He took a -3.Three final zone score into Friday’s sport, and Baseball Information Options assessed him with -Three defensive runs saved, each grading him barely beneath common. However, these measures vastly exceed the -16 UZR and -25 defensive runs saved that Andujar posted final 12 months. And the excellent 131 OPS+ that Andujar put up as a rookie falls quick to the 145 OPS+ that Urshela delivered to work on Friday.

This growth might flip Andujar into commerce bait this offseason because the Yankees attempt as soon as once more to enhance their beginning rotation. I’d attempt to keep away from that, although. Solely 24, Andujar nonetheless possesses a excessive upside. And he’ll be very fairly priced, since he gained’t be eligible for arbitration; neither will Urshela.

Think about a 2020 Yankees roster that includes these place gamers:

Catcher: Austin Romine (if he returns) and Gary Sanchez.

Infield: Andujar, Didi Gregorius (like Romine, he generally is a free agent), LeMahieu, Gleyber Torres, Urshela and Voit.

Outfield: Brett Gardner (additionally a free agent), Aaron Hicks, Aaron Decide, Giancarlo Stanton and Mike Tauchman (I’m gonna exit on a limb and assume Jacoby Ellsbury gained’t be wholesome).

You would possibly discover this provides as much as 13 and the Yankees favor to go together with 12 place gamers. What, you suppose all of those guys will really keep wholesome? In the event that they do, then Andujar has minor league choices remaining.

Use spring coaching to get Andujar acclimated to different positions. To get him at peace with the truth that he has been Wally Pipp-ed.

That wasn’t very tough, proper? There at all times exists a palatable answer to the dilemma of an excessive amount of expertise. Now, if solely the Yankees might discover themselves with the identical downside on the pitching facet …


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