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Eduardo Nunez Rumors
The Twins have acquired infielder Eduardo Nunez from the Yankees in exchange for left-hander Miguel Sulbaran, tweets Twins director of baseball communications Dustin Morse. Nunez has been assigned to Triple-A Rochester.
The 26-year-old Nunez is a career .267/.313/.379 hitter in 827 Major League plate appearances and batted .260/.307/.372 last season. Once considered a potential heir to Derek Jeter, Nunez has failed to distinguish himself offensively or defensively in the Major Leagues. Though he's never graded out well defensively, metrics such as Defensive Runs Saved and UZR/150 gave Nunez staggeringly bad reviews in 2013, pegging him at -28 runs and -40.7, respectively, in a small sample of 608 1/3 innings at shortstop.
Infield depth isn't the Twins' strong suit at this point, with light-hitting Pedro Florimon filling the role of everyday shortstop while prospect Danny Santana continues to develop in the minors. However, while Nunez's bat could be an improvement over Florimon, the aforementioned defensive woes don't make him a clear upgrade; Florimon is regarded as an excellent defender at shortstop. He could potentially find his way to the big league roster in the event of an injury to Florimon or utility infielder Eduardo Escobar.
The 20-year-old Sulbaran was acquired from the Dodgers last July in exchange for Drew Butera. He didn't crack Baseball America's list of Top 30 Twins prospects, nor did he appear on the MLB.com's Top 20 list of Twins prospects. Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press tweets that Sulbaran showed up to camp this spring overweight, which presumably didn't do much for his standing with the team. Sulbaran has a career 3.15 ERA with 8.4 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in 239 2/3 minor league innings.
The Rays officially announced their six-year, $25.5MM extension with Chris Archer in a press conference today. The right-hander told reporters (including MLB.com's Bill Chastain) that the recent spate of pitching injuries around baseball influenced his decision to sign the contract. "I don't know if all the injuries — the head injuries, the concussions, the elbow injuries, some shoulder injuries — that have happened of late, I don't know if they've happened as a sign for me, but I took them as a sign for me, a sign of what's unknown," Archer said. "I sat down with my financial advisor. With this contract, I'm financially secure multiple times over again, through many generations. For me, that's all I ever wanted out of this game — to be personally secure and have my family members secure as well."
Here's some more from around the AL East…
- Alex Cobb and Wil Myers would seem to be the next logical extension candidates for the Rays, MLB.com's Adam Berry writes. Cobb said he would "plead the fifth" when asked if he'd been approached by the team about a multiyear deal, while Myers said that he's just focused on playing and will let his agent handle any contractual business. Berry's piece also contains several quotes from Rays executive VP Andrew Friedman about his team's strategy of locking up its young stars.
- The Rays have had nine players suspended for PED usage and 14 players suspended for drug-related offenses overall since 2012 , Baseball Prospectus' Ben Lindbergh notes. Tampa Bay leads all teams in both categories, and the recently-suspended Alex Colome is the only the latest of several of the Rays' top prospects to be hit with a suspension. Lindbergh, however, believes this current spate of issues is only a matter of "chance," as the franchise doesn't have a glaring suspension record before 2012.
- The Mets haven't discussed making a move for Eduardo Nunez, Mike Puma of the New York Post tweets, and it's "too early to say if they will have interest" in signing the infielder to bolster their shortstop depth. The Yankees designated Nunez for assignment yesterday.
- Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos told reporters (including Brendan Kennedy of the Toronto Star) that he isn't looking for external shortstop help with Jose Reyes on the DL. Jonathan Diaz is currently filling in at short, and Anthopoulos doesn't think Reyes' injury will keep him out for too long.
- ESPN's Jim Bowden (Insider subscription required) doesn't think the Blue Jays will contend this season and the club should deal some top stars in order to restock the farm system. Edwin Encarnacion headlines Bowden's list of Toronto's ten best trade candidates, which also includes possible trade suitors.
- In other AL East news, we posted a collection of Red Sox Notes earlier tonight.
The Diamondbacks added righty Daniel Hudson to the club's 40-man (and subsequently placed him on the DL) as part of the agreement reached when he was re-signed, reports Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. Arizona promised the rehabbing starter that "if everything was going right with rehab and everything was feeling good, they were going to add me to the roster and put me on the DL," Hudson said. Of course, this means that he will accrue MLB service time (and take a valuable roster slot) over the course of the season. The contract pays Hudson $700K this year and provides the club a $800K option for next year, Piecoro reports. With 3.117 years of service going into the season, Hudson is within reach of a new arbitration plateu, which could give him a final arb year in 2016 before he would hit free agency. Of course, the focus now is on getting back from a second Tommy John. Here are more stray notes from around the game:
- The Yankees made a notable move today in designating Eduardo Nunez for assignment. As MLB.com's Bryan Hoch reports, GM Brian Cashman indicated that the team was ready to move on after liking what it saw from Dean Anna and Yangervis Solarte this spring. "In this most recent spring," said Cashman, "[Nunez] had a good spring but we had other guys that had better ones. He possesses a great deal of talent and you can dream on him – and we have – as a potential every day shortstop in the big leagues. All that talent is still there and I think his versatility does provide for a great deal of choices as a player on a Major League roster. We’ll see what develops in the next 10 days."
- The Rockies' preliminary thinking is that the club will make qualifying offers after the season to outfielder Michael Cuddyer and starter Jorge De La Rosa, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Needless to say, there is plenty of season left to play before these decisions come into focus, but Heyman opines that the 35-year-old Cuddyer would seem a good candidate to accept if the offer is made.
- For the Nationals, signing utilityman Kevin Frandsen was an extension of the team's earlier interest in Jeff Baker, reports Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. GM Mike Rizzo had admired Frandsen's approach in his prior stints with the Giants and Phillies, and liked his fit with the club. “He really filled a role that I was looking for in that Jeff Baker type of role,” Rizzo said. “He can play third and first. This guy can play second and short and corner outfield. From afar, I really like the way he went about his business."
- Veteran pitcher Brett Myers will not sign to pitch this year but hopes to return for 2015, reports Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com (via Twitter). The 33-year-old had been said to be healthy and looking for an opportunity.
The Yankees have designated shortstop Eduardo Nunez for assignment, tweets Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News. A 40-man roster spot was needed for fellow infielder Yangervis Solarte, who beat out Nunez for the club's utility infield role.
Needless to say, the move represents a disappointing step for the 26-year-old, who was once viewed as the eventual replacement for the legendary Derek Jeter. While it remains to be seen whether this means the end of his time in the New York organization, Nunez could well be headed elsewhere.
Nunez first saw time with the big club back in 2010, and has compiled 827 plate appearance at the MLB level since that time. Over that stretch, Nunez has put up a .267/.313/.379 triple-slash with 10 home runs and 48 stolen bases. His glove work has been the real issue, however. Nunez was pegged as costing the Yanks a remarkable number of runs last year — 28 by DRS and 20.6 by UZR — in just 608 1/3 frames at short. His 2013 UZR/150 innings mark of -40.7 was the worst rate logged by any player who saw at least 500 innings in the field.
We learned this morning that the Red Sox are expected to sign first round pick Brian Johnson and that Kevin Youkilis continues to draw some trade interest. Here are more notes from the AL East, starting in New York…
- Melky Cabrera broke out as an All-Star caliber player after the Yankees traded him, but hitting coach Kevin Long told Joel Sherman of the New York Post that the switch-hitting outfielder has always had star potential. “If Melky committed himself to the Yankees as he does now, he would still be a Yankee,” Long said.
- Yankees GM Brian Cashman told Sherman he considers Eduardo Nunez a shortstop. Nunez, who has been sidelined since May with a thumb injury, "does not profile as an outfield guy," Cashman said.
- Jamie Moyer can opt out of his contract with the Orioles in the next few days if the team doesn’t select his contract from Triple-A, Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com reports (on Twitter). The 49-year-old left-hander has a 1.69 ERA with a 16K/0BB ratio in three starts at Triple-A.
The Yankees own baseball's all-time best record (164-109) in interleague play, including a 7-2 mark against the National League this year. The Bronx Bombers are riding a six-game winning streak thanks to consecutive sweeps of the Mets and Braves and they'll visit the equally red-hot Nationals in a three-game series this weekend. Here's the latest from Yankee Stadium…
- The Yankees don't consider Carlos Quentin as a fit for their needs, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. The Yankees would want to fill left field with someone "speedier" than Quentin, which probably also means someone more defensively capable (Quentin has a career UZR/150 of – 9.1). MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith explored Quentin as a trade candidate in May and the Tigers were linked to Quentin earlier today.
- Chad Jennings of the Lohud Yankees blog looks at how Andre Ethier's recent extension with the Dodgers may impact Nick Swisher's free agent value this winter and Swisher's chances of re-signing with the Yankees.
- MLB.com's Bryan Hoch looks at a few Yankee hot stove topics in a fan mailbag, including the possibility of an Alfonso Soriano trade and how the Yankees could be trying to build Eduardo Nunez's trade value by playing him at several different positions.
Believe it or not, Rays left-hander Matt Moore has never started a game at Tropicana Field. The 22-year-old left-hander will take the mound at home against the Twins tonight for his first Tampa Bay start. Here are today's AL East links…
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post suggests the Yankees should use Eduardo Nunez as their primary left fielder while Brett Gardner's on the disabled list. Nunez could be part of the Yankees' future, while veterans like Andruw Jones and Raul Ibanez won't be, Sherman argues.
- It's too early to bet against Boston manager Bobby Valentine, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports writes. Some rival executives say Red Sox president Larry Lucchino tried to regain power by hiring Valentine, according to Rosenthal.
- Ben Badler of Baseball America introduces readers to right-hander Drew Hutchison, who will make his MLB debut for the Blue Jays tomorrow. The 21-year-old could use some more minor league seasoning, but he's quite polished for his age and could fit in as a back-of-the-rotation starter not unlike Henderson Alvarez. The Blue Jays decided to rely on internal starting pitching options this offseason instead of completing trades or free agent signings.
The Braves are looking to add offense this winter, and John Harper of The New York Daily News reports that they let the Yankees know they'd be interested in trading for shortstop Eduardo Nunez last week.
“They need offense," said Harper's source. "They need a shortstop because they don’t want to bring [Alex] Gonzalez back, and they like Nunez a lot. They know the jury is out on him defensively, but they think his offense is strong enough that he could move to the outfield if he can’t be their long-term answer at short.”
Atlanta did not discuss Jair Jurrjens or any specific players on their side with the Yankees, and they also showed interest in Nunez last winter. The 24-year-old infielder hit .265/.313/.385 with five homers in 338 plate appearances this past year, stealing 22 bases in 28 tries as well.
Nunez played short and third base primarily last season, getting regular at-bats when Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez hit the disabled list at different times of the summer. He also saw time at second base and occasionally filled in at the corner outfield spots. Nunez committed 20 errors in his limited time, most coming on throws, so his ability to play the left side of the infield on an everyday basis is still in question.
Arizona GM Kevin Towers tells Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that he believes a big part of the D’Backs’ turnaround comes from his team’s “will to win.” Here are more of Rosenthal’s notes from around MLB:
- Rosenthal says it’s doubtful that the Tigers would be better off without GM Dave Dombrowski and manager Jim Leyland.
- Will the Pirates extend GM Neal Huntington? Rival executives say the Pirates’ farm system isn’t as good as Pittsburgh executives think, but the club took a step forward under Huntington this year (especially before the Pirates’ recent losing streak).
- Indians officials have been impressed with Jason Kipnis’ versatility and athleticism, not just his recent power surge.
- Rosenthal suggests Eduardo Nunez has substantial trade value, since he can play premium positions and hit (.273/.325/.407 line this year).
- Scouts see John Mayberry of the Phillies as a late bloomer like Jayson Werth or Michael Morse, Rosenthal reports.
Here's the latest from FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal in this new Hot Corner video…
- Of the NL Central contenders, Rosenthal thinks the Reds will be the most active before the trade deadline. They can deal one of their top prospects (Zack Cozart, Yonder Alonso, Devin Mesoraco) for help, or perhaps promote one or more of those youngsters. The Reds also have Aroldis Chapman and Homer Bailey's returns on the horizon.
- The Cardinals will rely on reinforcements in the form of injured players returning from the DL, and while the Brewers are looking for "a hard-throwing reliever," Rosenthal doesn't think Milwaukee will be able to make any major trades since the farm system is thin after the Zack Greinke deal last winter.
- The bright side of Derek Jeter's injury is that it gives the Yankees a look at Eduardo Nunez, their possible shortstop of the future. Rosenthal also notes that Nunez could be a potential trade chip.
- In regards to the rumored realignment plan, Rosenthal says concerns about interleague games being played throughout the year would be addressed by having the majority of AL vs. NL matchups take place towards the middle of the season, as per tradition. Rosenthal, for his part, is a big supporter of realignment since it will create a more fair playing field in regards to scheduling and the divisional setup.
- In another video clip, Rosenthal argues that the Marlins shouldn't be quick to fire manager Edwin Rodriguez even though the team is struggling. The injuries to Hanley Ramirez and Josh Johnson have hampered the team, though as Rosenthal notes, even with this excuse for Florida's slump, it's hard to predict Jeffrey Loria's actions.