Both local and national writers have discussed Eduardo Nunez a bit in the last few days. He’s taking over at shortstop while Derek Jeter spends two weeks on the disabled list and we’ve heard that this period is a showcase for Nunez, a time for him to prove himself. But there is one big question: prove himself for what purpose?
There is some talk about Nunez as the “shortstop of the future” and that he will replace Derek Jeter at the position. I just can’t see this happening. Nunez has flashes of brilliance both offensively and defensively, but I’m not confident that he can put it all together. The biggest detractor, though, is time. When exactly will Nunez replace Jeter at shortstop? It’s not going to happen for the rest of this year and definitely not for the rest of next year. Maybe it could happen in the third year of Jeter’s contract, but then where does that put Jeter? Will the Yankees even move Jeter off of shortstop? As a bench player for the next 2-3 years, it’s possible that he may not develop properly and may not be able to handle the role when the time comes.
Because of all that, I can’t help but think that the only thing Nunez is going to be doing in the next two weeks is auditioning himself for other teams and building trade value. If he shows that he can play competently at the position, his value to the Yankees in the near future is probably better in a trade. After all, if he does turn out to be even semi-productive, he could help bring in a more valuable piece to the team. That piece could, and probably will, outweigh the value Nunez would add as a bench player who doesn’t get much playing time. Granted, he has been getting a decent amount this year, spelling Alex Rodriguez and Jeter quite often.
Every action the Yankees have taken with Nunez shows they believe him more than just a little bit. They’ve shown enough belief that I can’t envision them trading Nunez for something that isn’t exactly right, but if he isn’t on the team after July 31, I won’t be surprised in the least.
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