The Pirates designate Miguel Andujar for assignment

The Pirates have designated infielder/outfielder Miguel Andujar for assignments to make room on the list for Andrew McCutchen, tweets Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Andujar, 27, joined the Pirates late in the 2022 season after being designated for assignment by the Yankees and posted a .250/.279/.389 batting line in 40 plate appearances down the stretch. It wasn’t a particularly robust showing from the 2018 American League Rookie of the Year runner-up, but it was enough for Pittsburgh to hand the arbitration-eligible Andujar a contract and eventually agree to a $1.525 million salary for the upcoming season.

As the offseason has progressed, however, the Bucs have continued to add players that will reduce Andujar’s future playing time. First came the acquisition of first baseman Ji-Man Choi in a trade with the Rays — a move quickly followed by the signing of Carlos Santana. That pair of pickups pushed Andujar out of the first base/designated hitter mix and, with Ke’Bryan Hayes locked in at third base, left Andujar as either an outfielder or a bench option. However, both of those roles were further muddled by this week’s reunion with McCutchen.

It’s been a long road for Andujar, who hit .297/.328/.527 and blasted 27 home runs while finishing second to Shohei Ohtani in the aforementioned Rookie of the Year voting. Since then, he’s had shoulder surgery, seen his role with the Yankees filled with free-agent and trade acquisitions, and bounced to the Pirates when the Yankees finally ran out of opportunities for him.

Andujar has managed just a .230/.257/.324 batting line in 416 major league games since that brilliant debut campaign, due in part to both injuries and rare playing time. He has remained a productive hitter in Triple-A, however, as evidenced by a career .303/.351/.507 batting line at that level — including a .285/.330/.487 outing this past season in Scranton. He has also become a more versatile player in an effort to get back to the big leagues, adding first base and left field to his defensive skills.

That said, Andujar will soon turn 28, is out of minor league options and now comes with that $1.525MM salary for any team that wants to claim him. All of this gives the Pirates a decent chance to move him through waivers. Andujar has enough service time to reject an outright assignment in favor of free agency if he indeed does, but doing so would mean forfeiting that $1.525MM guarantee, which seems unlikely. There’s a good chance the Buccos will be able to keep him in Triple-A Indianapolis and bring him back to the Majors when injuries necessitate such a move. For now, though, they have several days to examine the trade market before deciding whether to grant him waivers. We will have a resolution on his DFA status within a week.

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