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A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News


What to do with Eduardo Nunez

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on Dec 21, 2012 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Here’s a question the Yankees might not answer until spring training.

What’s Eduardo Nunez’s role in all of this?

Ideally, he would be the third baseman; a guy who made Kevin Youkilis unnecessary and gave the Yankees an in-house placeholder for Alex Rodriguez. He would have taken a step forward last season, improved his defense, proven himself on offense and been ready to step into regular playing time.

At the very least — after opening the previous two seasons on the big league bench – you’d think the Yankees would be able to count on Nunez as a dependable and tested utility man; an obvious choice as the Yankees top infield reserve. He’d be locked into a big league role, backing up Youkilis and Derek Jeter while providing speed and a pretty good right-handed bat off the bench.  

But neither of those is a comfortable option at this point.

Instead, Nunez remains a mystery. There’s still a lot to like about his bat, and it’s easy to see the tools on defense, but he hasn’t developed any sort of consistency. The Yankees believe he’s better off staying at shortstop, which makes him an odd utility choice — the rare bench player who can only play short — but is he going to gain any of that missing consistency by playing the field once or twice a week? Is there really anything to learn from another stint in Triple-A?

So what role should Nunez play next season? What role can he play next season?

How about backup shortstop and platoon designated hitter? Has that combination ever existed?

If the Yankees re-sign Raul Ibanez, they’ll need to pair him with a right-handed hitter. Nunez could be that guy. And the combination would be especially effective if the Yankees find a right-handed fourth outfielder with power. Against lefties, the fourth outfielder would take the place of either Brett Gardner or Ichiro Suzuki in the field, and take the place of Ibanez in the lineup. Nunez would take the place of Ibanez at DH, and take the place or either Gardner or Ichiro in the lineup. Power for power. Speed for speed.

Once or twice a week, Jeter could DH or sit while Nunez plays the field. In fact, it might work out just as well to label Jeter as the DH against lefties, while Nunez essentially serves as a platoon shortstop. Might help Jeter stay healthy through the first half of the year, and the plan could be adjusted when Rodriguez returns.

The Yankees bench — with a right-handed outfielder, a backup catcher and Nunez – would still have room for one more, either a true utility man — someone like Jayson Nix — or a four-corners guy to primarily help at third base and occasionally play the outfield. If Nunez has to play second base three or four times during the year, that might be a risk the Yankees have to take.

Bottom line is: If the Yankees aren’t going to trade Nunez, they might as well find a way to use him.

Associated Press photo

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32 Responses to “What to do with Eduardo Nunez”

  1. Jerkface December 21st, 2012 at 6:24 pm

    Their decision to take Nunez north in 2011 was definitely a mistake. It started Nunez on this silly path.

  2. Locke December 21st, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    I love the idea of having him serve as a backup SS and platoon DH. He’s great against LHP and I think will develop a sure glove if he can get consistent reps at one position.

    Plus, he’s got a great personality and seems to love the game.

  3. RMS December 21st, 2012 at 6:35 pm

    Yankees will trade Nunez. He’s too young to play on this team.

  4. jmills December 21st, 2012 at 7:03 pm

    Maybe A-Rod should reflect a little more like lymon Bostock when it comes to production – understood, maybe I’m not being fair as he had the full right to take what was being offered.

  5. jmills December 21st, 2012 at 7:21 pm

    I wonder what lymon would have done if he wasn’t taken away……..

  6. joeman December 21st, 2012 at 8:25 pm

    who’s to say Jeter comes back !00 %, people who come back from this injury lose some quickness..This team has a lot of question marks and right now not looking like a playoff team

  7. jmills December 21st, 2012 at 8:29 pm

    Jeter, might very well come back.

  8. raymagnetic December 21st, 2012 at 8:37 pm

    Let New Knee, Davey and Ronny play I say. They shouldn’t sign anyone else and let the boys from Scranton be the bench options. Somehow I doubt that’s what they’ll do.

  9. jmills December 21st, 2012 at 8:42 pm

    Raymagnetic, who knows what will happen, maybe my Jay arms will blow up over night!

    :)

  10. Ys Guy December 21st, 2012 at 8:54 pm

    the decision to bring nunez up wasnt what ‘started him on this silly path’ it was nunez failure to be able to play defense.

    why does every failing become cashman’s fault? sometimes the player just fails.

  11. Jerkface December 21st, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    why does every failing become cashman’s fault? sometimes the player just fails.

    Because they let him rot on the bench for 3 months where he got 40 PA and scattered play time while bring forced to play multiple new positions. He should have been in AAA playing every day working on his multiple positions (or 1). He could have been called up when Jeter went down with his injury.

    Much like what happened with Noesi, they brought up a player who was too good for the role he was used in and it burned them developmentally.

  12. Nick in SF December 21st, 2012 at 8:58 pm

    If any Yankee fans would like to celebrate the signing of Ichiro with a ramen meal and get a little Christmas shopping done in Japantown (San Francisco), please do join me at Suzu Noodle House. The gyoza is on me. Hurry, I’m already here.

  13. Ys Guy December 21st, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    “Much like what happened with Noesi, they brought up a player who was too good for the role he was used in and it burned them developmentally.”
    —————————–
    how was he ‘too good for the role he was used in’ when he failed at it? ridiculous.

    they gave him an opportunity and he literally threw it away. too bad, i hope he can overcome his failings.

  14. Jerkface December 21st, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    Does the Suzu Noodle House serve true Tonkatsu ramen or the imposter shoyu/miso tonkatsu ramen?

  15. Jerkface December 21st, 2012 at 9:03 pm

    how was he ‘too good for the role he was used in’ when he failed at it?

    Because Noesi should have been getting innings as a starter instead of as a back end guy who barely pitched, and because Nunez should have been playing full time instead of as a seldom used backup infielder. If Jeter & A-rod were not hurt, he would have got 100 PA the entire season given the pace he was on up to June. Thats an insane misuse of a player who needs to play to get better.

    The Yankees 100% either misread where he was at defensively or didn’t care.

  16. Jerkface December 21st, 2012 at 9:04 pm

    They killed Nunez trade value by halting his defensive progress at short, & wasting 2 entire seasons trying to fit his square beg in a round hole.

  17. Jerkface December 21st, 2012 at 9:06 pm

    Nunez as a full time SS prospect with a nice bat & ability to play the position > utility infielder in value. The former could have netted them Justin Upton.

  18. Ys Guy December 21st, 2012 at 9:06 pm

    i never even mentioned noesi who cashman was fortunately able to pass off on seattle as a major leaguer. who cares what happened to him they cashed him out. i was talking about nunez.

    nunez was stuck on the bench because every time they put him in the field he made 1 or 2 errors. they stuck with him much longer than they should have. he blew his chance.

    and i LIKE nunez, but it’s on him that he couldn’t handle the opportunity he was given. lets hope he siezes it this year.

  19. Nick in SF December 21st, 2012 at 9:08 pm

    They serve Molina ramen in equal portions of truth and falsehood.

  20. Ys Guy December 21st, 2012 at 9:10 pm

    they didnt need a ss they needed a utility player. there was a great role for him on the yankees, they gave him the opportunity and he failed. that’s it. what happened to his trade value is his own fault.

    he has another chance this season, maybe this time he comes through.

  21. Jerkface December 21st, 2012 at 9:16 pm

    they didnt need a ss they needed a utility player. there was a great role for him on the yankees,

    We just have a fundamental disagreement here. You don’t take a good prospect and turn them into a lesser one just because you need it. This goes back to the Joba thing. You don’t turn Joba into a middle reliever just because you need one. Its a waste of value, its inefficient. He BARELY PLAYED and this was before he was erroring every game. Up until Jeter got hurt he had 61 PA.

    Getting to be a utility infielder on a star studded yankee team is nice if you’re like a nobody Ramiro Pena type, or someone who is not thinking of their actual career. For a top prospect, and in this sense i mean on the yankees not in all of baseball, it was a misuse of his talent and most importantly stunted his growth.

    Nunez was not a 100% ready to play guy. He needed play time, to continue to work on his fielding. He needed more at bats, because he had turned a corner offensively the previous 2 seasons and should have been getting regular work.

    It is no surprise that once Jeter went down and he got to play more he actually started hitting.

  22. Jerkface December 21st, 2012 at 9:16 pm

    If they needed a utility player they should have taken Ramiro Pena north.

  23. Ys Guy December 21st, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    alfonso soriano was the same deal as nunez, a SS in the minors, he came up and hit and the team decided to find somewhere to play him. they had him ticketed for LF but an opening came up at 2b and they put him there. he wasn’t great defesively but he handled it well enough that his hitting took over.

    they gave nunez the same opportunity and he failed at it. nothing wrong with that but there’s also nothing wrong with the team giving him that opportunity. its just that he couldn’t hack it.

    that’s not the team’s failure, just a player who couldn’t step up when opportunity knocks, happens all the time.

  24. Jerkface December 21st, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    Short stops are one of the hardest players to come by, let alone short stops that may be able to hit at league average or better. Squandering one of your chances at having one is foolish. I brought up Noesi because it is an example of similar lack of foresight by the Yankees.

  25. Jerkface December 21st, 2012 at 9:19 pm

    Soriano got to play 40 games at 2B in the minors before touching it in the majors and got to play a fullseason after his debut. Vastly different. They did not get anywhere near the same opportunity.

  26. stanzy December 21st, 2012 at 9:20 pm

    Damn, Nick. I just got home from the city. Love me some ramen, though. There’s a great place in San Mateo, called Ramen Dojo, if you’re ever slumming on the Peninsula.

  27. Jerkface December 21st, 2012 at 9:20 pm

    “Here Nunez, play 3 innings every 4 days, great opportunity!”

    “Oh hey Soriano, play 158 games after we let you try the position in the minors first, we won’t pull you or do anything crazy”

    Yup, totally the same.

  28. Jerkface December 21st, 2012 at 9:21 pm

    Soriano played every game at 2B. Nunez plays a little in SS, a little in 3B, a little in 2B, a little OF.

  29. Jerkface December 21st, 2012 at 9:21 pm

    If the Yankees put Teixeira in CF, and he stinks there, its not Mark Teixeira’s fault, its the Yankees for doing a boneheaded thing.

  30. Ys Guy December 21st, 2012 at 9:29 pm

    the yankees gave him an opportunity and he failed at it, that’s it. make all the excuses you want. manny machado played 2 games at 3b before the orioles promoted him and put him at third. he did fine.

    when the opportunity comes, you have to be ready and do the job. nunez didnt. that’s it.

  31. fuster December 22nd, 2012 at 12:08 am

    of course, Nunez is going to play shortstop…and likely more than the other guy.

  32. comnsnse December 22nd, 2012 at 9:24 am

    Seriously,do these “suggestions” sound a teeny bit like desperation?

    They do not sound like bold initiatives,sell the team to Murdoch and be done with it!

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