Eduardo Nunez is the Yankees' backup plan for Alex Rodriguez

Mike Stobe

The Yankees are still waiting around to see what will happen with Alex Rodriguez, which is understandable. He's owed a lot of money in 2014, and if the Yankees are dedicated to this whole budget thing, they'll want to wait and see what's going on with their third baseman before they go around spending more money on players they may or may not need. Once they know what's happening with A-Rod then they can decide if they need someone like Mark Reynolds, Jeff Baker, or Michael Young (ugh).

However, according to Wallace Matthews of ESPN, the Yankees have no plan to sign anyone else. A source believes that they will look internally to fill in at third base, whether A-Rod is suspended or not, including the likes of Kelly Johnson and Eduardo Nunez. Yes. Eduardo-freaking-Nunez. That Nunez. The New York Yankees, after spending over $300 million this offseason, might not find replacing their starting third baseman that important. They've already let their second baseman leave without properly replacing him, so they could be looking to double down by going into the season with platoons at two positions.

But Eduardo Nunez? Just imagine what he would be like as the starting third baseman in 2014. Can you? Thankfully we don't have to leave much to the imagination. By comparing his projections to the production of all 2013 third basemen, we can see how bad Nunez will be. I averaged his Steamers and Oliver projections to find his average projection and then just straight up compared it to what third basemen did last year. Obviously, Nunez fell way short:


AVG OBP SLG BB% K% wOBA wRC+
2013 Third Basemen .256 .317 .398 7.6 18.3 .314 97
2014 Eduardo Nunez .251 .299 .348 5.85 14.9 .287 75

Sure, he might strike out less, and his batting average might not be too far off, but his overall production is terrible by comparison. He won't be walking much, or getting on base at all. He won't even be very productive. Taking the average of the top 30 third baseman in 2013 will show just how useless he will be. I compared Nunez's Oliver projections, which are based on a full season of play.

HR SB Def WAR
Top 30 2013 Third Basemen 15.1 4 5 2.9
Eduardo Nunez 6 22 0.6 0.5

He has shown the ability to be somewhat of an asset on the base paths, but he's going to have to get on base in the first place if he wants to use that to his advantage. His power pales in comparison to the position he's going to be forced into and his defensive inabilities will be on full display if he's the regular third baseman. The Yankees would essentially be willfully allowing a replacement-level player to be in their starting lineup on a regular basis.

Why is he the backup plan? What have the Yankees seen in Eduardo Nunez to make them believe he will be worth a roster spot, let alone be a fixture on the team in 2014? If they're planning to rely on a Nunez/Johnson platoon at third, does this mean Brian Roberts is the regular second baseman? What happens when he inevitably gets injured? Suddenly Kelly Johnson and Eduardo Nunez are regulars, then take Derek Jeter into account. If he ends up injured and Brendan Ryan becomes the regular third baseman, what kind of infield is this.

The only reason to rely on Nunez is if the Yankees have decided to completely stop spending money and the likes of Mark Reynolds is deemed too expensive. If Eduardo Nunez ends up as a regular cog in the Yankees' lineup this year, the offseason has been a failure, I don't care who they sign. Alex Rodriguez better get off completely so he can spare them from their own stupidity.

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