May
11

Yanks activate Eric Chavez, send Eduardo Nunez to Triple-A

By

Via Marc Carig, the Yankees have activated Eric Chavez off the 7-day DL and sent Eduardo Nunez to Triple-A in a corresponding move. They want him to play shortstop and second base on an everyday basis in an effort to improve his defense. Jayson Nix will remain with the team as the utility infielder.

Joe and I talked about the possibility to sending Nunez down at length in today’s podcast. I didn’t think it would happen mostly because it seemed like one of those ideas that wouldn’t even have been entertained had he not made those two errors last night. Something had to give with the kid’s defense though, hopefully he can find some consistency down there. Nix has a ton of experience at second and third bases but just a handful of games at short in each of the last few years. He could fake it once a week but not if Derek Jeter were to miss some time.

Chavez, meanwhile, returns to the team after missing a week with whiplash and possible concussion. He was eligible to come off the DL yesterday but had to wait for MLB clearance to be activated. He’s in tonight’s lineup at DH.

Categories : Asides, Transactions

75 Comments»

  1. thenamestsam says:

    I’m pretty pro-Nunez but I think this is a fine move. Chavez was playing well enough before he got hurt that he’s probably going to get a lot of the backup 3rd base time, and with the amount Cano plays there isn’t enough playing time for Nix to be that much better or worse than what Nunez offers. Given that it’s at worst a small harm to this year’s team I think it’s worth seeing if Nunez can possibly improve his defense with full-time work. If he can I still think he can be a major league starter at SS. If not, the loss is minimal.

  2. Mike says:

    Just when I thought Andy Pettitte coming back was the best news of the season, nothing can be better than this.

  3. jsbrendog says:

    thank god. i honestly couldn’t watch anymore nunez in the field.

  4. dan says:

    Why is he working at short and second, as opposed to short and third? Cano plays everyday, they need Nunez to backup third. Sounds odd to me.

    • Havok9120 says:

      Because we have Chavez for 3B.

      • The Guns of Navarone says:

        Chavez won’t be around forever. A-Rod will. They need someone who can play third.

        • Havok9120 says:

          Yes, they do. But if they’re trying to reduce his number of positions cutting the one for which he’s the backup to the backup this season seems the way to go. Nunez and Jason Nix are the entirety of our 2B depth if Cano goes down and which would you rather keep as the starter in such a case?

    • Need Pitching says:

      yeah, I agree. I could see limiting him to SS and 2B if he stayed in the bigs, but why not try to expand his ability if he’s going to the minors, especially since the current backup 3B is Mr. Glass, and the current starting 3B is the IF that would get the most rest. It seems odd to send him down for more (needed) development, only to limit him to a role that would probably only entail him playing once a week if/when he is recalled.

      • Havok9120 says:

        The whole rationale for sending him down was reducing the number of positions. He’s the backup to the backup at 3B and probably the 2nd string 2B and SS in the organization for the MLB club. I’d certainly prefer him to Jason Nix if Cano hits the DL.

        • Need Pitching says:

          The whole rationale for sending him down was for him to improve his defense and continue his development. They could have just as easily reduced his number of positions in the major leagues, they don’t need to send him down just to do that. I’m not at all saying he shouldn’t get reps at 2B. He should. But for the next 2 years their will be much more playing time available at 3B than 2B or SS, even with Chavez in the mix. Limiting Nunez to just SS and 2B in the minors when he could be free to learn and improve in any position seems to severely limit his possible value over at least the next 2 years.

          • Midland TX says:

            Middle infielder value > corner infielder value

            Let’s see him work on stabilizing his defense and comfort level up the middle. If he can adapt to that on a repeatable everyday basis then there’s no reason to think he could manage a day at third from time to time. Let’s also not forget that Jeter is no spring chicken, current beast-mode hitting notwithstanding.

            • Need Pitching says:

              I think he should get most of his time in AAA at SS. But why not let him play some third, even if just once a week. One of the biggest excuses given for Nunez poor defense is because he hasn’t had much time at these other positions. Now they have a chance to give him that time.

              Of course “Middle infielder value > corner infielder value”
              I’m not saying he should give up playing middle IF.

              Starting 2-4 times a week at varied positions in MLB value > starting once a week value

              • Havok9120 says:

                Isn’t that what we did through his late minor league career anyway? I don’t remember perfectly clearly, but that certainly seemed to be the pattern. I don’t know why they’d try that again and see if it sticks. They said, several times, that this was done to reduce his number of positions and play him everyday at them. And, for this season, it makes more sense to do that at the two positions where he is the next in line if the starter hits the DL.

                • Need Pitching says:

                  “Isn’t that what we did through his late minor league career anyway? ”

                  No, not really. He played SS only from 2007-2009.
                  In 2010, he played SS 101 games, 3B 11 times, and 2B 5 times.
                  I understand they say they want to limit his positions. I’m questioning the wisdom of that. He would have more value to the Yankees long-term (and possibly this year as well) if he could play all 3 of 2B, SS, and 3B capably. Otherwise the only chance of him having any significant role on the Yankees over the next couple years would be as an injury replacement. Maybe the Yankees have given up on him becoming a significant contributor and are content with that role from him. Seems to be there is still at least a possibility of him being more than just backup for Jeter and Cano. Seems the Yankees may think differently.

    • zxy says:

      Fuck the idea of him ever playing 3rd again. Either you’re cut out for it, or you’re not. He’s not.

      Both his glove and his arm are inconsistent, and 3rd is not the place for a guy w/those deficiencies.

      • Havok9120 says:

        “Either you’re cut out for it, or you’re not.”

        Heh. That’s just silly. He’s not Bill Hall, old enough to where he’s not going to improve.

  5. the tenth inning stretch says:

    I’m going to the Scranton/Empire State Yankees game tomorrow night in Rochester. Guess I won’t get seats behind first base.

  6. Manny's BanWagon says:

    About time. He doesn’t hit nearly well enough to justify his putrid defense. I think he’s just not cut out to be a super utility guy so letting him focus exclusively at SS and 2B is a good idea. Hopefully he can at least become competent as a middle infielder.

  7. Klemy says:

    Welcome back Chavez!

  8. DannyC says:

    Finally cashman does something right. Nunez’s bat did not justify his horrific defense. This is great news, hopefully martin will be next

  9. OMG! Bagels! says:

    I’m going to miss our own little blooper reel.

  10. Fernando says:

    I also dont’t get why Nunez would work on SS AND 2B. He’s needed more at SS AND 3B. His two errors yesterday were at 3b. So you’re going to send him down after errors at 3b, then not give him time there?

    In fairness to him, he didn’t have much in the way of experience at anything other than SS before he came up. There were a handful of games at 2B and 3B, but nothing to say that he had experience at those spots. And he never played the OF in the minors. It’s logical to expect that he would make mistakes.

    • Havok9120 says:

      He’s the MLB club’s second baseman if Cano goes down. He’s the backup to the backup (to the backup?) at third.

      • Ted Nelson says:

        He played over Chavez regularly when both were healthy.

        • Havok9120 says:

          Yes, he did. Usually when the split in the offense favored him or, early in the season, when they were moving heaven and earth to get him in the lineup so they could see what they had. Chavez was playing more every week before he got hurt, to the point where Nunez was, I think, only starting at 3rd over Chavez for the platoon advantage.

  11. Knoxvillain says:

    Thank God. Hopefully he spends the rest of his career down there or on another team unless he figures out how to field a damn ground ball or make a throw. My God he sucks. Bye, Nunez!

  12. Philly says:

    Well, when you are shifted all over the place it’s hard to be good in just one position. There is too much moving this guy around. Put him in the infield at 3rd or short and let him evolve!! I actually think he’s playing and hitting better then A Rod!

    • Need Pitching says:

      you’re insane

    • Havok9120 says:

      You’re on to something up until that last sentence. That last sentence makes you….something. Nuts maybe.

    • jjyank says:

      If you think Nunez > A-Rod, I don’t really know what to say. Age aside, A-Rod’s been raking for like three weeks now, and is still good (waaaay better than Nunez) on defense.

  13. Thomas says:

    And Brian Cashman looked down on the people of the Yankee Universe and said “Rejoice for Eduardo Nunez’s reign of error is over!”

  14. Mike says:

    The one thing that does suck though is that with Nunez sent down, and obviously Gardner still out, we have almost no speed in the lineup except Jeter and Granderson, and we have absolutely no speed on the bench.

    Nunez had 6 steals, the other 12 players have a combined 10 steals (doesn’t include Gardner)

    • Mike Axisa says:

      Dewayne Wise can steal a base on occasion, but year, they lack speed without Gardner and Nunez.

    • Ro says:

      Fair point. Something I actually discounted for a moment, until you mentioned it. However, I suppose the best way think about this is what is a greater risk/reward to the Yanks at this very moment? Have Nunez swipe a few additional bags, subsequently score a few additional runs or play him out of position (3rd/OF) and potentially have an error or two, per game (we’re pretty much at that point, at least it seems) and lose runs for the team?

      I think the Yanks see this as the rest of the offense will have to compensate the small ball with more power the next few weeks.

      I’d personally rather not have my pitcher (especially with a shaky rotation) have to do extra work on the mound, in bad situations, as a result of a Nunez error.

      I’m ok with this move. He is NOT a 3rd basemen, nor an outfielder, as that takes a different type of baseball acumen, something he just lacks. With the Cano situation looming and Jeter, even if another two years, will eventually be gone. I think Nunez at this point will spend the majority of the rest of the season at AAA, unless of course, they need him to fill in at SS or 2nd.

    • jayd808 says:

      Good. A little thinking going on there…

  15. flamingo says:

    Wow, I was not expecting that. I’m really pleased with this decision.

    Hopefully he’ll concentrate just on shortstop for a while.

  16. OneJay76 says:

    So who is backing up at SS now?

  17. Randi B says:

    Nunez move is the best ever. He has to play EVERYDAY and they need to limit where he’s going to field.

  18. mike says:

    This will help the whole team, as Nunez’s presence on this team is not for his bat, its predicated on his perceived versatility in the field.

    since he has demonstrated his fielding is a work in progress, having him improve that part of his game will only help the big league club in the future.

    If his bat is required for this lineup…that is a far bigger issue

  19. Mberk15 says:

    I remember years ago when Erick Almonte came up, and I thought, well, at least I know that I’ll never see more incompetent defensive player than this in my lifetime! And then came Nunez. Finally, he’s back where he belongs.

  20. Brian S. says:

    SMH. Errors are frustrating but they are only one part of defense. As frustrating as his errors have been I feel like he has shown some nice range at shotstop that is usually not provided, and UZR would back up my assertion.

    • Brian S. says:

      And his 112 wRC+ is damn good too. I really don’t like this move. He’s much more valuable than Nix.

      • Need Pitching says:

        most likely,yes. But with Chavez back to back up 3B, he’ll likely have been reduced to playing once a week just backing up Jeter and Cano. Even if Nunez is just down for a month, playing everyday for that month would probably be better for Nunez and the Yankees long term than just playing 4-5 games over that time at the MLB level.

    • Need Pitching says:

      his career UZR/150 at SS is -23.6

      or are you basing your entire argument on 43 innings worth of UZR data for this season?
      Granted he may have better range than Jeter at SS, but he more than gives away the range gains with errors and misplays.

      • Ted Nelson says:

        You continue to use small samples, and then call other people out for doing the same. Young players tend to get better, so it’s very possible he might have improved from his rookie year.

        • Need Pitching says:

          I used his career numbers. There is no bigger sample available. And I only used that because he brought up UZR. I don’t think he’s played anywhere enough for the UZR to be solid. I was just refuting the statement that “UZR would back up my assertion” I’m not in any way basing my opinion of Nunez defense on what his UZR is.

          Yes young players get better. He may have improved. Watching him play this year, his error total, and the Yankees decision to demote him all seem to strongly indicate that he has not, or at least not nearly enough.

          • Ted Nelson says:

            Again… looking at a half a rookie season as some indication of what someone will do going forward is questionable. Everyone knows he was awful defensively and mediocre offensively last season. The questions are whether he’s improved this season and whether his offense offsets it. You accusing me of strawman arguments is ridiculous. You are arguing against no one. You keep ignoring the actual questions and referring to evidence that proves a point no one is disputing.

            The Yankees are not some all-knowing body that do everything right. I have no problem with getting Nunez more development time, though. It doesn’t indicate they have a better UTL in the short-term. It indicates that they feel the overall utility of sending him down to develop is greater than keeping him up. Could be a long-term decision to maximize his value. Could be, if they’re really not playing him at 3B, that the 3B experiment is over and they view him purely as a middle IF… which was always going to be his strongest role.

            • Ted Nelson says:

              “It doesn’t indicate they have a better UTL in the short-term.”

              I should say it doesn’t *necessarily* indicate. (Though if they think Nix is better I have to seriously question the decision.)

            • Need Pitching says:

              “You accusing me of strawman arguments is ridiculous. ”
              except that you’ve done that constantly, as I’ve showed repeatedly in the other thread.

              Let me see if I can make this clear for you. He was horrible defensively last year. Nobody is disputing that. He was also horrible defensively this year. It seems you are the only one disputing that. Was his offense worth living with the defense? IMO, no. Apparently in the Yankees opionion, also no. Maybe the time in AAA will allow the defense to catch up, maybe not. I never said they have a better UTIL in house. Chavez, when healthy, is a better backup 3B. If Nunez can’t figure out how to play defense, the Yankees need to look elsewhere for a UTIL.

  21. forensic says:

    Eh, he’ll just be back up in 3 days when Chavez breaking his foot by tying his cleats too tight…

  22. #28 in 2012 says:

    What did Robbie work with Nunez on all winter? I guess they didn’t play catch a lot.
    And to think this was the guy who Cash didn’t want to deal for Lee to Seattle. Noe the deal breaker is learning how to play SS in AAA. Great.

  23. Midland TX says:

    I hope he sees this as the opportunity it is and makes the best of it. If he can stabilize his defense, his bat and speed will more than make the case to bring him back to the big club to contribute. Once you get past Hanley and Tulo, there aren’t a lot of shortstops out there who can approach what Jeter provides. Nunie is an insurance policy for this year, and perhaps more for the post-DJ era.

  24. jjyank says:

    I approve. I lost my patience with Nunez. As long as Chavez is healthy, Nunez should be even sniffing third base at this point. I was a Nunez defender for long enough, but last night was the straw(s) that broke this camels back.

  25. RetroRob says:

    My fear all along was Nunez just wasn’t suited to be a multi-position/reserve utility player. I guess that was all our fears, but was certainly willing to see how it played out.

    He was a toolsy, but erratic fielder when the only position he was playing was SS. He seemed to have made excellent progress his final year in AAA playing daily, but then came to the majors where he wasn’t playing consistently, was asked to play third base as much as SS, and was also thrown in at second, LF and RF, all new positions.

    His most successful fielding period was when Jeter was DL’d. He knew he was playing daily and playing his regular position. I think he would have a chance to rate out positive on defense as a regular playing short. He would still have his erratic times, but would more than balance it out with regular play. I can also see him hitting .285/.340/.400 with ten or twelve homers and 30+ SBs. That’s very good production for a SS currently.

    The problem is it’s not going to happen for the Yankees. He needs to be starting regularly at one position, SS, and there is no opening there on this Yankees.

    My guess is we’ve seen the end of Nunez as a Yankees outside of maybe call up for an injury. He’ll be traded.

    • jjyank says:

      I think you’re pretty much on the money. Nunez is just not a super-sub guy IMO, and that’s what the Yankees need. Jeter and A-Rod aren’t going anywhere soon. Even if the Yankees let Cano walk, that’s not until 2014 either. Nunez will either be traded, rot in AAA, or doomed to riding the pine as a pinch runner/injury insurance. Can’t say I blame the Yankees, they seemed to try pretty hard to get him in the lineup as a super-sub. He just doesn’t seem cut out for it.

  26. MannyGeee says:

    Ok I am gonna call it. Nunez is gonna get reps at 2B so as to not pay the Boras tax to keep Cano. your starting 2b for the new $189m Yankees will be Eduardo Nunez’ flying helmet.

    Boom

    That just happened

  27. Eating raul says:

    About time

  28. jg233 says:

    It’s good that he got sent down, but he should be playing the outfield on a daily basis not SS and 2B. The only place he has a future in the big leagues is at DH or in the OF.

    • Fin says:

      LOL, really? So you think he hits well enough to man right or left field? He can be a dynamic player as a middle infielder with his base running abilities but thats his only chance to be a a major league players. He’s athletic enough to play the ss/2b, but hasnt shown he can do it at the major league level. Wether thats becasue of the Yankees trying to play him at too many postions and screwing his developement up or because he doesnt have the ability is to be determined. He is not a corner outfielder though.

  29. Frank says:

    I called it yesterday morning. It’s absolutely the right move.

  30. mike says:

    Why not Romero Pena instead of Jason Nix,They have Wise for the outfield

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