The New York Yankees have been heavily linked to Manny Machado in the lead-up to the non-waiver trade deadline, prompting speculation that incumbent third baseman Miguel Andujar could be packaged away in a deal for pitching.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman attempted to squash any rumors involving Andujar on Friday after it was reported that the team isn't high on the 23-year-old, saying that he sees Andujar as an integral part of the organization moving forward.
"I think (Andujar) is a hell of a player," Cashman told Joel Sherman of the New York Post. "We have said 'no' to him (in trade talks) not just this year but from Double-A on up. I have not included him any deals and that should say how I feel about him."
Cashman added: "We have been challenged many times to move him or coerced to move him. He is here because of what we think of him. And I mean 'we.' His makeup is off the charts. His work ethic is off the charts. His energy is off the charts. And his physical ability is off the charts. He is a major contributor, which is what we thought he'd be."
Sherman reports that the Pittsburgh Pirates asked for Clint Frazier and Andujar in a package for Gerrit Cole during the offseason, but the Yankees rejected the offer and Cole was eventually dealt to the Houston Astros.
If the Yankees were to acquire Machado, they would likely use him at third base, which would displace Andujar. New York could either move him to the bench or send him back to the minors, though it would be a tough pill to swallow for the rookie who is hitting .282/.318/.500 with 12 home runs, 27 doubles, and 39 RBIs across 81 games.