I was going through posts from this time last year and found this one from exactly one year ago today: What to do with Eduardo Nunez?
Glad we’ve figured that out in the past 12 months.
Seriously, though, Nunez’s short-term role and long-term future are more uncertain today than ever before. At this time last year, Nunez seemed at least to have a big league job locked up. The question was whether he could play multiple positions, hit enough to be a platoon designated hitter, or actually have an impact as a backup shortstop (at the time there was still a general believe that Derek Jeter would be healthy enough to be the starting shortstop; didn’t know the job was going to fall to Nunez out of spring training).
Today, Nunez has 752 Major League at-bats with a .267/.313/.379 career slash line. He hit very, very close to that exact slash line last season. He’s still just 26 years old, and there are still some tantalizing tools — good speed, a strong (if erratic) arm, some offensive power a middle infielder — but Nunez’s inconsistency has bumped him out of the Yankees plans. Even with no other emerging infield prospect, Nunez has actually fallen down in the pecking order and could very easily be optioned back to Triple-A next season.
I’ve always been a little more bullish on Nunez than most, and I still think he could scratch out some sort of role in the big leagues for some team, but the Yankees haven’t figured out what to do with him. Not saying that’s the Yankees fault — it’s generally up to the player to solidify himself — but right now, Nunez is a kind of misfit toy on the Yankees roster. Lack of infield depth has made it hard to get rid of him. Lack of consistency has made it hard to use him.
Associated Press photo