Andujar for Thor? This is a BIG Question….
As many have heard by know, the Yankees, Mets, and Marlins are rumored to be discussing a trade whereby the Yankees would send Miguel Andujar to Florida, the Mets would get catcher JT Realmuto, and the Yankees would get Noah Syndergaard. Here are some quick thoughts:
Noah Syndergaard Is Awesome When Healthy
In 2016, Thor was worth 6.3 wins more than a replacement player (WAR) making him one of the best pitchers in the game. He struck out 10.68 batters per 9 innings and walked only 2.11 batters per 9 innings. His park and defense neutral ERA (XFIP) was 2.67.
He was hurt for most of 2017 and only pitched 30 innings.
In 2018 he had an XFIP of 2.80 with 9.04 strikeouts per 9 innings and only 2.27 walks per 9. That was good for a 4.2 WAR in only 154 innings. Again, an elite pitcher.
Noah Syndergaard Gets Hurt a Lot
Syndergaard pitched 30 innings in 2017 and only 154 innings (25 starts) in 2018. He certainly carries some significant injury risks.
Noah Syndergaard Is Really Valuable
If we take the average of Syndergaard’s WAR over the past 3 years and increment it by .25 WAR over the next 2 years (and assume he peaks in 2020), we get a total of 12.55 WAR over that period (the last 3 years of team control).
My off the cuff guess is that he’s worth at least $70 million. If he’s healthy, this could be much higher.
My Thoughts on Miguel Andujar
Andujar’s WAR in 2018 was 2.7 in his rookie season at age 23. His defense, as has been well chronicled, stunk. He had one of the worst defensive ratings of any third baseman. More concerning is that the big issue was his range, not that he made a bunch of silly errors. My gut is that errors are easier to correct with experience. Range is quickness and as John Thompson once famously said, “You can’t teach quickness.” Still, even with his horrid defense, he was worth 2.7 WAR. If we plug his numbers into my back of the envelope value model, he’s worth around $120 million.
Who Plays Third?
If the Yankees trade Andujar, they would now have another hole to fill in addition to second or short for 4-5 months while Didi recovers. The Yankees really have no decent third basemen in the minors. And there is really only one good (realistic) free agent candidate, Mike Moustakas (like Syndargaard, another player with a hard to spell name) who is projected to get a 3 year deal worth $12 million per. which would be fine given that he was worth 2.8 WAR in 2018. I sure hope that Cash has a handshake there before he trades Andujar. I’m sure that there are some trade options but I don’t have time to research them (quick means quick). (Of course, there is also the possibility of signing Manny Machado, but the jury is out on whether or not the Yankees intend to spend this big this winter.)
On the face of it, five years of Andujar is more valuable than three years of Syndergaard. That’s because (1) Two of those years are pretty much free and (2) 5 is more than 3. Of course, if Syndergaard can pitch at his 2016 levels, he’s worth around $100 million. And pitchers are always said to be worth more and highly valuable players are worth more per win than less valuable ones (would you rather have 1 10 WAR player for the same price as 10 1 WAR players?).
If I could pull this off with only giving up Andujar as a major piece, I’d do it and go for it over the next three years.