YANKEES FACING A DECISION ON DRURY

Minor League Baseball

By JED WEISBERGER

Brandon Drury is a 25-year-old, versatile major-leaguer who is really in a tough spot.

And what is to blame? A spate of migraines that blur his vision – and likely contributed to the native of Grants Pass, Ore, hitting just .217 (5-for-27) in eight early games with the Yankees. He has a .270 career average in 207 major-league games.

He’s a good guy who was brought in to be the Yankees third baseman last Feb. 20, as pitching prospect Taylor Widener went to Arizona and infield prospect Nick Solak went to Tampa Bay in a three-team swap.

But then a funny thing happened. While Drury was saddled with migraines – I actually have what he does to a much-lesser degree, and it can blur your vision – and we talked about it during his six-game rehabilitation stop in Trenton, Miguel Andujar seized the third-base job, is hitting .298 (65-for-2180, playing solid defense and has 28 doubles.

“What I am dealing with is getting better, but it’s not all gone,’’ said Drury when he was in Trenton. “I just would really enjoy without having to deal with it.

“I’ll get there.’’

Since his stop in Trenton, Drury has been abusing International League pitchers, hitting .353 (68-for-133) in 38 games with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre- .447 (17-for-38) in his last 10 – and is showing he is certainly ready to assume a spot on a big-league roster.

The problem is, with both Andujar and Gleyber Torres playing like Rookie of the Year candidates at third and second, respectively, and the Yankees committed to Greg Bird at first, where does Drury fit? He can also play the outfield, but there “is no room at the inn” there as well.

Also, the Yankees traded for Drury with a doubt either Andujar or Torres could be everyday starters. Those doubts were erased by both quite early. Unless there is a major injury, there is no spot for Drury.

In addition, the Yankees have a home-grown future star in Andujar, and such players are the highest-regarded by Yankees general manager Brian Cashman and the front office. They may not have expected Andujar to do what he has, but they are proud he did.

Andujar will likely not be removed from the lineup for the next several years.

The Yankees both want to and have to be fair to Drury. A decision on him will certainly have to be made sooner than later.

Some have suggested the Yankees release Neil Walker and make Drury the utility guy. Whether that would really work is up to debate, Walker is to the point in his career where that role fits him. Drury deserves to be a starter at this juncture.

Others have suggested the Yankees replace Greg Bird at first base with Drury. That’s simply not going to happen.

The best bet is to package Drury in a trade for a Yankees need, if his migraines are under control, a versatile infielder making $612,000 is quite a valuable commodity, especially with several teams, led by the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants having a need at third base.

As happened many years, ago, Drury got “Wally Pipped.”

 

About The Author

Have covered the Yankees and their system for over 20 years. I enjoy writing about MLB prospects and where they stand in a system. I concentrate on analyzing and commenting on prospects I have seen play and have talked to. Highlights of a 35-year newspaper career in the Pittsburgh area and with the Trenton Times include the 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates We Are Family team and the Yankees’ successes while in Trenton. A dozen spring training trips have also been key, as that is where you meet and learn the players’ personalities. Am an 11-season MLB.com correspondent My work in Business Development with the EFK Group, a top New Jersey digital ad agency, has me quite comfortable in the digital era and appreciate the idea of total media, including video and podcasting.