The Problem With Nunez

You will have to trust me that I was writing this piece in my head before the first inning of tonight’s game. I had most of it mentally mapped out a few hours ago, but my desire to watch the Masters finish and Rangers puck drop, didn’t get me to the keys until now.

Chad Jennings is reporting that this will be a pretty regular lineup against lefites. I have no problem with Swisher hitting second, he takes plenty of pitches and gets on base a ton. Plus, last year was the first time Granderson really pounded lefties, let’s make sure he keeps doing that before freaking out.

No, my problem with this lineup is making Nunez a regular player against lefties. I understand the thinking. If Nunez plays SS or 3B against lefties, you can DH Jeter or A-Rod and reduce the wear and tear on them. That thinking makes perfect sense, if you had a quality guy to plug in at those positions on a regular basis. I’m just not sure that Nunez is that guy.

Obviously, we have seen the defensive problems. Let’s set those aside for a minute because you could probably live with them if he mashed against lefties- which he doesn’t. Last year he hit .277/.314/.429 against them. It’s not a terrible line, but contrast it with say Andruw Jones’ who hit .286/.384/.540 last year against them. Or take someone like the Cubs’ Jeff Baker who hit .309/.360/.526 vs lefties while playing all over the infield and outfield.

And that to me is the biggest problem with this idea. Nunez probably won’t hit enough to overcome his defense (He really reminds me of Bobby Meacham out there which is not good) and he also creates a lineup problem. By DH Jeter and starting Nunez, the Yankees cannot sub Jeter in for defense without losing the DH. So, in a close game, the Yankees are going to have to live with Nunez going the distance at short. If they DH A-Rod at least they could always put Chavez in at third.

This is a problem with very few solutions. Ideally, the Yankees would have thought more about this in the offseason before locking into this roster (especially the Chavez part). They could always go to 11 pitchers and bring a guy like Pena up to cover the defensive part of the problem. Maybe Nunez will improve with the bat or the glove, but if things stay the same this year this alignment will put the Yankees into some uncomfortable positions.