Eduardo Nunez and hope eternal

Rich Schultz

Sometimes all you need is one chance. And then a few more. Maybe one after that, too.

It's been addressed many times before, and will probably come up more times in the future, but there's not a lot of quality depth projected to be in the Yankees infield. Brendan Ryan stands as the only backup infielder that is assured a spot on this team, so there looks to be some space for a couple of players to impress in Spring Training. Of course, the coaches might already have their favorites, but I suspect that none of the candidates are that far ahead of the others. That's spells opportunity for the much-maligned and often helmet-less Eduardo Nunez, who always seems to manage to be a brief injury away from getting a start for the Yankees. And unless someone else stands out this Spring, it's probably going to be the case again in 2014.

I've always thought Eduardo Nunez being one of the worst Yankees of all time spoke so much more to the franchise's failings with their minor league development than just a player who isn't very good. You don't get to be in the team's top five worst-performing position players ever (-1.9 fWAR over 270 games) if there's somebody clearly better behind you. We're now in the fifth season of "The Eduardo Nunez Experience", and the latest round of would-be usurpers isn't really any more impressive than in the past. Dean Anna, Yangervis Solarte, Scott Sizemore: they all have their own issues which could prevent them for burying Nunez once and for all. Sizemore can say he's the only competent major-leaguer among them, but of course he's only here because he has injury issues.

Speaking of burying, it does almost feel like Nunez is some unassailable horror villain at times. Now matter how close it feels like you are to never seeing him on the roster again, it just works out so that he's still in the mix. But none of that matters now, because he's here and he's getting a look. Sure, yesterday's poor performance didn't do him any favors, but he's got that coveted "veteran status" and Joe Girardi seems to like him, so it certainly won't be his death knell.

It's all part of what makes his situation so interesting to me. A brand new start to his career is still right within his grasp. Hundreds and hundreds of other players have seen their chances at the majors go by the wayside without getting nearly the number of chance granted to Nunez. Some of them were likely better players, too. But because there hasn't been anyone nipping at Eduardo's heels in this organization, he's still got a crack at it. All the words here at PSA and elsewhere that have been written lamenting the seemingly Teflon nature of 'ol Eddie's standing with the Yankees could be rendered wholly irrelevant with a surprising level of competent performance. I certainly wouldn't expect it, but it's all right there for your taking Eduardo.

So make the most of it, good sir. As the years go by you're closer and closer to spending your days languishing in AAA. But they haven't come just yet, so grab that roster spot with gusto. I'd rather you not just sort of stumble into it undeserving.

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