11 May 2012
I’ve speculated about this a few times in recent weeks, but after last night’s performance, I am convinced the Yankees need to send Eduardo Nunez down to the minors and either give him extensive work as a utility guy or as an outfielder. This is a guy who appears to be turning into Chuck Knoblauch and the Yankees have to figure out a way to prevent that. Maybe they can’t. Maybe Nunez is going to be a guy who simply can’t make the routine throw in the infield. I refuse to believe that right now, I think this is more a case of not being trained for the role the Yankees wanted him to play.
In his minor league career, Nunez played 600 games at shortstop, 19 at second, 17 at third and zero in the outfield. Yet, they made him their utility guy at the start of 2011, primarily because he can hit and run a bit while Ramiro Pena can’t. I don’t think it was a bad choice, but it also required Nunez to do some things he had never done before. There is no shame in the fact that he is failing.
And failing may be too nice a word for it. Look at the way he tried to backhand that ball on his first error last night. That was a terrible play. The throw in the second was probably the “better” error, but both of those plays are routine ones that need to be made. What the Yankees need to do is figure out their long term goal for Nunez. Is it as a possible replacement for Jeter or A-Rod? Is it a move to the outfield? Perhaps a super-utility guy? I suspect the latter, so why not send him to the minors for a couple of weeks and let him work through his troubles? He could start every day at a different position and get some experience. The Yankees have Nix on the roster to soak up the utility AB’s and Chavez could be back later today. Trying to teach him multiple positions in the majors isn’t working.
One last thought. CC Sabathia had a lower ERA throwing to Russel Martin last year than he did to Francisco Cervelli. (Both were outstanding) So, why does he need Chris Stewart as his personal catcher this year? And if Martin is the defensive whiz the Yankees think he is, what is going on?