The Eduardo Nunez question
Let’s fire the blog back up on this Tuesday morning with a few thoughts about Eduardo Nunez, who might just be the biggest unsolved riddle for the Yankees fan base right now. Depending on whom you talk to, Nunez is either the clear-cut answer for any offensive sputtering or a huge defensive liability, waiting to cost the Yankees important games down the stretch. Hey, can we just agree that he might be both?
Alex Rodriguez said this weekend that there was no question Nunez is currently “one of the finest offensive players on this team.” That’s high praise coming from A-Rod, who – say whatever you want – knows the game between the lines as well as anyone in that clubhouse. So why did it take a hobbled Derek Jeter (who may or may not get back to shortstop duty tonight, weather permitting) to get Nunez into the lineup?
The Yankees raised the white flag on the experiment of making Nunez a utilityman; in May, frustrated by the fact that Joe Girardi couldn’t trust Nunez when he put him in the field, the Yankees set Nunez to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and committed to play him only at shortstop. That was seen as a move to improve his defense as well as to boost his potential trade value, but a thumb injury got in the way and cost him a good portion of the season.
Luckily, the American League has that little thing called the DH where a pure hitter doesn’t have to bring his glove into the field. Andruw Jones seems to have fizzled out, and perhaps that’s the price to pay after Girardi was forced to push Jones and Raul Ibanez so hard with Brett Gardner injured. A-Rod is probably going to still need DH at-bats down the stretch; Jeter too. The good news is, Nunez might just have pushed his way into that mix.