The Curse of Jerry Hairston, Jr./Eric Hinske:

Tuesday, January 2, 2018 MLB free agency rumors: Eduardo Nunez to Yankees?

Could Eduardo Nunez find his way back to the Bronx?

As the new year begins, the Yankees still have glaring holes at second and third base created by trade (Starlin Castro) and free agency (Todd Frazier). While bringing back the popular Frazier makes a ton of sense, finances could be an immovable object.

According to’s Bryan Hoch, there’s a chance youngsters like, say, Gleyber Torres and Tyler Wade could man half of the infield on opening day in April. But don’t count out a veteran arriving to provide some cover.

More likely, one of those positions will be manned by someone not currently in the organization. The Yankees expressed interest in the Orioles’ Manny Machado and have been in contact with free agent third baseman Todd Frazier. A reunion with Eduardo Nunez is another option.

Machado’s name stands out, but Nunez could represent a much more realistic and cost-effective option. The ex-Yankees infielder finished the 2017 season with the Boston Red Sox after a midseason trade brought him over from San Francisco.

Nunez, 30, posted an .801 OPS and 110 OPS+ across 491 plate appearances last season. That mark included a robust .892 OPS down the stretch for the AL East champs in Boston.

I am an unabashed fan of Nun-E.  But his defense is still not good and I don’t think he’s a guy you want starting at an infield position regularly.  But if you can get him at a reasonable price for a year or two, I don’t see a problem here.

Until he makes that first error of course.

--Posted at 9:44 am by SG / 50 Comments | - (0)


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Nunez can’t play defense, which makes it pretty easy to replace him once Torres/Andujar is ready. But what do you do with him once he gets forced out of a position?

Can he be a super utility guy with a good bat but bad D? Can he cover OF positions?

Without Girardi, he could come back as Nunez. So I am for that.

We already have a bad-fielding third baseman. Why sign another one?

2 bad infielders ≠ 1 good infielder

This will be another Tony Womack situation. Which was fine, except for the whole Tony Womack part.

Choi can hit loads better than EdwardOOOPS, and as a 1B with no experience at 3B since tee-ball would probably be the defensive equivalent.


I dunno, it might be fun.  But the Yankees emphasize defense as much as possible. I think they’d only do this if they were pretty confident about Andujar and Gleyber arriving soon.  Also, I expect Gleyber will get a couple months in AAA to “shake off the rust” aka manipulate service time.

At second, Torreyes can do a basic impersonation of a Major League second baseman while Torres gets ready/they delay his service time, so I think third has to be where they concentrate their efforts. Nunez is a lot better of a defender at third than he is at second, so if he’s cheap, I guess I’d be fine with it.

I remember when I really wanted Nunez to be Jeter’s heir in center field.

“Better defender than Nunez at 2b” is not high praise. We need to know if he’s better than mop w/bucket at 3b, and also where Choi is on that continuum.

My guess, and it’s just a guess so don’t put any real money on this, is that it looks like this:

Mop w/bucket

[10] Depends on the mop and bucket’s positioning, don’t you think?

Mop with a Bucket on its Head has really been working on shedding weight and increasing flexibility in the offseason. I think you’re really going to see a new Mop with a Bucket on its Head in 2018.

On top of everything else NoNoNunEE is coming off a knee injury

12 Sic did you see the jock fall off the about to be the winner horse for someone’s lone $500K pick six ticket at GP?

[14] I was physically ill reading that story and watching the vid. I’d have rather have seen an ISIS beheading video.

[10] The exact analysis that keeps me coming to this site. My only question is where would the Jeter Statue rank (assuming an alternate universe where Jeter does the right thing and gives SS to ARod but still breaks his ankle against the Tigers due to something Swisher does).

“I’d have rather have seen an ISIS beheading video.”

That has to be some kind of sic joke.

We could argue all night long about Mop w/Bucket’s positioning and injury risk, but you have to look at the total picture in all its uh….totality.

To do that, we need to leave the realm of opinion and supposition behind, and take a hop, skip and a yodel down the path of facts and hard data. Rational, that’s what we need.

Here is what we know:

Table 1.
1) Nooney at 3B is a better defender than Nooney at 2B.
2) EVERYBODY at 3B is better defender than Nooney at 2B. Hell, I AM a better defender than Nooney at 2B, and I’m old, fat, drunk, with poor eyesight and no skills.
3) Ergo Choi is a better defender at 3B than Nooney at 2B.
4) Mop with Bucket is also a better defender at 3B than Nooney at 2B.

Now, all the best projection systems in the world include regressing things to a mean. In that light, the mean to which everything will regress in the above, is Nooney at 2B. It seems mathematically sound to assume the transpositive property applies, and that EVERYBODY, ME, Choi, and even Mop with Bucket is also a better defender than Nooney at 3B.

However, if I’ve learned one thing about projections - and I’m not saying I have, just “if” - it’s that you can’t follow blindly where these things lead you to conclusions. You have to put some balance against your irrational exuberance. Which is hence why Mop with Bucket, well, you have to say he’d be somewhere below Nooney at 3B. It’s a balance thing. B-A-L-A-N-C-E…Balance.

Now, there’s another thing that all the top projection systems have, and it’s that they all make the Yankees come out better.

“Pin, old boy, you’re forgetting something - none of these are Yankees. Not even Mop with Bucket, who is apparently in Tampa blocked by a guy named Swiffer from Staten Island.”

True that. I can’t find fault with anything there. BUT ! Choi and Nooney are FORMER Yankees. But the top rated rating systems all weigh recent years more heavily than prior performances. And since Choi’s Yankeedom is more recent than Nooney’s, you have to weight him more heavily as a Yankee. Which doesn’t say anything on it’s own, but is a comforting cross-check to the projections in the table above and the way they came out. That’s objectively beyond question.

I summation, I think we can all agree. We may not want either (both ?) Choi or Nooney, but we certainly don’t want Choi a whole lot less than we don’t want Nooney.

[16] I can rerun the projections to include Jeter’s statue. My approach would be to use a Monte Cristo analysis, which involves a fried sandwich and some kosher pickles and then doing some stuff with the numbers. I’ll look for a youtube on the process and get back to you.

Didn’t I read that Mop with Bucket also changed its swing plane to more of an uppercut?

[20] The shift was killing him. I thought instead of messing with his swing Mop with Bucket should just lean into a few to get on base the hard way, which is also in this case, technically, bunting.

Will mop have to cut his, well, mop?

Wow, that’s the second decapitation reference in one thread. Gotta be some kinda record.

Also, [17] I see what you did, there.

[8] I don’t know that we really want more than about a month of “Ronald Torreyes, Major League Starter” and given it’s 2B AND 3B that are currently open that means he’s not even close to a solution. One of those positions needs a competent player, if only one who’ll be cut midway through a everything-goes-right season.

I don’t know that we really want more than about a month of “Ronald Torreyes, Major League Starter” and given it’s 2B AND 3B that are currently open that means he’s not even close to a solution. One of those positions needs a competent player, if only one who’ll be cut midway through a everything-goes-right season.

Right, but isn’t that what I said? That Torreyes can fill in at second until Torres is ready, but they’re going to need a third baseman.

JoAnna Garcia, Nick Swisher’s wife, is on Conan right now and, uh. Nicky did well for himself.

She’s also become a surprisingly good actress (she wasn’t that good when she started).

I see where Fangraphs is hiring a writer.  Should RLYW hire one too?

Bet the job posting says “English fluency not required”

They are apparently looking to add a Spanish speaking (and I presume writing) contributor, which is interesting.  I know some of us are bilingual, does anyone know if there’s any interest in analytics in the Spanish-speaking baseball community?  Do the Spanish language announcers ever talk about it?

I wonder whether Andujar is doing anything right now to convince Yank management that he’s ready to be the full time, major league third baseman.  If I were in his position, I’d be practicing my fielding incessently and looking for ways to show the Yanks that my fielding was OK. That might involve sending videos or even persuading some Yankee coach to come see me at my workouts.

[31]  Maybe, but can you think of any other player who ever did that?  If I were him I’d have asked to do instructs and play winter ball, not do workouts.

ETA, the only recent news I found on Andujar was a December article by Murti:  “Andujar made great improvements and at season’s end was still working with the big league staff on his footwork to improve his throwing accuracy.”

Andujar is playing winter ball in the Dominican, where he has hit terribly in limited action; no defensive stats available.

Semi-related:  I remember after the Montero-Pineda trade when Pineda showed up to spring training not in shape and subsequently f-ed up his shoulder that he said that the Yankees didn’t contact him in the off-season to go over his training regimen, that he was waiting to see what they would tell him to do.  I got the impression after that, that the Yankees have been doing a much better job of keeping tabs of the off-season activities of the players. 

I always look at that incident as the beginning of the end of the old system in terms of player development and ushered in the new regime.  Thankfully. 

(Man, that was a biiiig screw-up by the Yankees.)

[31] Pig roast.

[31] Videos of leaping over things has been known to captivate the front office previously. What’s Andujar’s vert?

“New York Yankees

New Year’s win projection: 94.2

Change in win projection from pre-hot stove forecast: 0.7 (Rank: 12)

Playoff probability: 82 percent | Championship probability: 10.0 percent

This modestly improved forecast for the Bombers is bit of a surprise. In trading for Giancarlo Stanton and re-signing CC Sabathia, the Yankees are the one elite team to make an impact transaction this winter. Yet because of New York’s desire to stay under the tax threshold, the effect is fairly marginal. Starlin Castro and Chase Headley, both sent away to free up payroll, had positive value. More importantly, New York looks like it needs two starting-caliber additions to the infield.”

Huh. I didn’t expect the offseason moves to amount to only incremental improvement thus far.

If they hadn’t made the Headley trade, the offseason would be done and they’d be in great shape. Still don’t get it.

NYT with an article on how trades are done often by texts as opposed to phone or face to face. Thad Levine of the Twinkies is said to be the wittiest texter but Levine says “the person who has the most expansive library of GIFs that he employs for negotiations is none other than Brian Cashman. He is exceptional. They’re extremely funny.”

[36] Well, they traded away about four wins and added maybe five.

I wouldn’t be shocked to see them bringing back Frazier if he’d do two years for $20M or so.

[37] It really feels like the Headley trade was made in preparation for a 2nd move that fell through.

Maybe those Cole talks included Harrison and were really close for a bit.

Here’s MLBTR’s FA tracker:

scroll down a bit for 2B/3B

They are either going to sign Frazier or Nunez to play 3B. Frazier gives them an all-season type guy unless his batting average totally craters (not impossible) while I could see Andujar pushing Nunez pretty hard by June. Either way I’m not really worried about it. A guy whose name I never hear is Colin Moran, could have a ton of value as a back-up 1B and compete for the starting 3B job with Andujar in ST. Moran reminds me of a young Daniel Murphy type and is blocked by Bregman. I could see something like Ben Heller-Moran making sense for both teams. No, he’s not a proven veteran, but I’d take my chances with the depth of Moran/Andujar/Gleyber/Toe/Wade/Estrada between the two open infield spots.

Would Yelich for Clint Frazier, Aaron Hicks, Estevan Florial, and one or two arms in the low minors be in the realm of possible?

Well, they traded away about four wins and added maybe five.

Yeah, that’s what I’ve been complaining about since they trade Chase. They’re still better, but the Stanton deal should have made them a LOT better and it really doesn’t seem like it did due to the other deals.

If they sign Frazier, though, that’d be huge.

[43] My guess is that the Yankees and Marlins valuation of Hicks are far too different to make any deal work. I think the Yankees would laugh that proposal out of the room.

[39, 44]
What it’s done is added uncertainty, right? Is it right to say that if your projection believes in Gleyber/Andujar for this coming year, then it *has* made them much better?

It’s possible, sure, but there ARE projections out there of Torres/Andujar and they’re not particularly impressed with them in the short term (long term, of course, everyone loves Torres). The best thing about the Yankees going into next season WAS their certainty, as they had a good team with no major areas that looked like they were going to collapse next year. They then added a superstar but then created two areas where they very possibly COULD collapse next year. That’s a trade that you make, but it’s certainly not optimizing your chances.

[46] Essentially.  You pretty much knew you were going to get about four wins from Castro and Headley.  You could get zero to eight from Torres/Andujar/Wade/Estrada etc., but the projections are going to assume you get closer to zero until they show something at the MLB level.  Especially in the case of Torres who hasn’t seen AAA and whose MLEs are going to be particularly harsh because of that.

Gleyber 23 games AAA OPS 863 and in June 14/games OPS 1010.

Headley did not look good and I have no problem with the trade or trying the kids in infield instead.

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