Well, sort of.
There will be no message coming from the Yankees instructing Andujar, one of baseball’s best rookies, to ignore all the talk about Machado, the on-the-block Baltimore Orioles superstar who was a third baseman for six seasons before moving to shortstop this year.
Manager Aaron Boone says he talks to all of his players frequently about a lot of things, but the Yankees’ recent reported increased interest in Machado won’t come up in talks with Andujar.
“I have not spoken to him about that,” Boone said Tuesday before Machado homered twice against the Yankees in a 6-5 Orioles walk-off victory at Oriole Park. “Once you start down that road …
“Look, I talk to all my players quite a bit. I talk to Miggy quite a bit. I think he knows how we feel about him. I think he understands how important he’s been to our club and how well he’s played and how much he’s impacted things.
“So that conversation doesn’t have to happen every time (there’s a trade rumor), especially this time of the year when the rumor mill starts up and we’re attached to getting a certain player. That’s going to happen just about every day. On some level I’m talking to guys, and (Andujar) especially all the time, but I don’t feel a need to specifically address that and get into it.”
Andujar, 23, has emerged as a rising star since getting a call-up from Triple-A two games into the season and taking over at third base a week later. After going 1-for-3 on Tuesday night, Andujar was hitting .279 with 12 homers and 39 RBI in 79 games.
But Machado would be an upgrade. He’s headed next week to the All-Star Game for the fifth time and he’s available as a free-agent-to-be as a lock to be moved before baseball’s July 31 trade deadline by the 26-66 Orioles.
There has been speculation for years that Machado someday would be a Yankee because he grew up in New York rooting for them. Alex Rodriguez was his favorite player.
The rumors of Machado signing with the Yankees after the 2018 season were running rapid in spring training, but later died down due to Andujar quickly becoming a solid regular.
This week, they picked back up again when The Athletic reported on Monday that the Yankees “are showing increased interest” in Machado.
The Yankees, however, are considered long shots to acquire Andujar – the Los Angeles Dodgers and Milwaukee Brewers are the favorites, according to the Baltimore Sun – and on Tuesday GM Brian Cashman strongly suggested he’s looking to trade for a starting pitcher instead of a third baseman in an interview with the New York Post.
“My job is to attack weakness,” Cashman said. “I don’t think third base is a problem. I think it is a strength, not only with Andujar, but with (Triple-A third baseman Brandon) Drury in the wings.”
If the Yankees do pull a big surprise by acquiring Machado, Andujar could be asked to move to first base. He’s never played there in a game for the Yankees or in the minors, but has worked out there a little during spring training and early in the season to be an emergency option.
Andujar said on Tuesday that he’d be fine switching positions if asked to do so.
He also said he’s not worried about the rumors.
Boone, by the way, knows what Andujar is dealing with.
In July 2002, he was a third baseman for Cincinnati in the midst of his best season for homers and RBI with rumors flying that the Reds would trade for Philadelphia Phillies third baseman Scott Rolen, who instead was dealt to the St. Louis Cardinals.
“There were rumors,” Boone recalled. “You just deal with it. It’s part the game, part of the business, part of this time of the year.”
Andujar is learning that this week.
“When you’re in a pennant chase, there are going to be stories that are real, fake … everything that comes up all the time,” Boone added. “That’s just the nature of the business when you’re in a sell mode or when you’re in a pennant chase and you’re trying to add. That’s part of the game and part of the stuff that you’ve got to deal with.”