Eduardo Nunez Rumors
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.
In his Insider-only ESPN.com blog, Buster Olney writes that the Mets have internally discussed the possibility of simply releasing Luis Castillo. The team has repeatedly tried to free up some money by trading the second baseman, but has yet to find a taker. Olney indicates that it's possible the Mets could drop both Castillo and Oliver Perez before Opening Day. Here are this morning's other New York-related notes:
- The Mets were one of the teams pursuing Randy Choate before the southpaw signed with the Marlins, according to Newsday's Ken Davidoff. Davidoff says the Mets made Choate a one-year offer worth about $1.4MM, but the veteran lefty accepted more years and more guaranteed money from Florida. If the Mets still intend to add a Pedro Feliciano replacement, Davidoff continues, it'll probably be someone on a minor-league deal, since the market is thinning.
- Brian Cashman told Anthony McCarron of the New York Daily News that he felt the asking price for Matt Garza was too high to seriously pursue a trade with the Rays. "We never got off the dime, but strong impressions were that it would be something that would cost us more because we are in the division, kind of like Roy Halladay," said the Yankees GM.
- Considering Andrew Friedman's comments about using the money saved in the Garza deal to sign other players, Chad Jennings of the Journal News wonders if the Rays' targets could overlap with the Yankees'.
- The Royals have told interested clubs that Joakim Soria will not be traded, a stance which Bill Madden of the New York Daily News finds puzzling. Madden suggests the Yankees were willing to part with Jesus Montero and Eduardo Nunez for Soria.
- In his blog entry linked above, Olney disagrees with Madden's argument that the Royals need to trade Soria. According to Olney, Soria's contract is so team-friendly it makes it nearly impossible for the Royals to get equal value from the Yankees or anyone else at the moment.
Links for Halloween Sunday, as we prepare to take in our last October baseball game of 2010....
- SI.com's Jon Heyman says (via Twitter) the early feeling is that Francisco Rodriguez will be back with the Mets this year. There has been speculation that they would try to trade the closer following his late-season arrest, but that would have proven difficult with his contract.
- John Gibbons has informed the Mets that he's not a candidate for their managerial opening, tweets Bob Klapisch of The Bergen Record. The former Blue Jays' manager is happy with his role as Kansas City's bench coach.
- The Mets are still trying to lure J.P. Ricciardi to their new front office, reports ESPNNewYork.com's Adam Rubin.
- Steve Melewski of MASNSports.com notes that it doesn't appear as if the Orioles have made much of an attempt to keep Koji Uehara. Uehara finished 2010 as the team's closer, but he is scheduled to be a free agent in the not-too-distant future.
- Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun recaps the Orioles' coaching situation, and tells us that if Don Wakamatsu doesn't land a managerial job, he'll likely be Buck Showalter's bench coach. Showalter would like the coaching staff to be finalized by mid-week.
- Dave Eiland, who was fired as the Yankees' pitching coach last week, told Marc Carig of the Star-Ledger that a reported falling out between he and Joe Girardi was "totally, absolutely false," and "ridiculous."
- How potential free agents have been performing, and continue to perform, in the postseason will have an impact on the Giants' offseason decisions, Brian Sabean tells Tyler Kepner of the New York Times. Aubrey Huff, Juan Uribe, and Pat Burrell are a few Giants who are facing possible free agency.
- Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer reminds Phillies fans that if Jayson Werth signs elsewhere, it wouldn't be the first time the club has lost a star outfielder to free agency. As Brookover notes, things turned out pretty well for the Phils in 2007, when Aaron Rowand signed with the Giants after having a career year in Philadelphia.
- In a piece for the Detroit Free Press, Josh Huebner explains why signing Carl Crawford should be the Tigers' number one priority this winter.
- Derek Jeter will likely still be playing shortstop in New York in 2011, but as Bill Madden of the New York Daily News writes, the Yankees view Eduardo Nunez as Jeter's eventual successor.
Cliff Lee and Cody Ross lead Jon Heyman’s list of players who have stepped up this postseason. Lee’s performance will only help his free agent stock and Heyman guesses the bidding for the left-hander will start at $120MM and go up from there. Here are the rest of Heyman’s rumors, which you can find in full at SI.com:
- The Yankees plan to bring Joe Girardi back and give him a raise. Team executives like Girardi, whose contract expires after the season.
- The Braves have expressed interest in Eduardo Nunez, a shortstop prospect in the Yankees system.
- Sandy Alderson, a candidate for the Mets GM job, is team owner Fred Wilpon's first choice. Heyman and Joel Sherman reported earlier in the week that Alderson is the favorite for the position.
- The Rangers like Adrian Beltre, but don’t have room for him since they have Michael Young at third base.
The Yankees have some interest in Ty Wigginton, according to Ed Price of AOL FanHouse. Price suggests the Yankees would be interested in the 32-year-old as a part-time player, rather than as an everyday starter.
In 299 plate appearances for the Orioles this season, Wigginton has hit .258/.342/.465, and his versatility has provided the O's even more value. In addition to logging significant time at first and second base, he has started a handful of games at third base. Though Wigginton hasn't spent any time in the outfield this season, he has shown in the past that he can play there if needed, recording 30 games in left field for the Astros in 2008.
For their part, the Orioles are reportedly looking for a young shortstop in exchange for Wigginton. If they were to discuss a trade with the Yankees, the first name the O's would bring up might be Eduardo Nunez, who Baseball America ranked 14th among Yankees prospects heading into 2010. The 23-year-old shortstop is in the midst of a breakout year (.313/.358/.416) for the Yanks' Triple-A affiliate, making it somewhat unlikely that New York would move him to rent Wigginton. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports doesn't think any team will part with a promising young shortstop for Wigginton, calling Baltimore's demand a "self-defeating stance."
Wigginton is earning $3.5MM in 2010, the final season of a two-year pact with the O's. According to Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun, Wigginton recently left agent Dan Lozano and hired the Levinson Brothers, presumably in anticipation of his upcoming free agency.