NUNEZ HAS PROVED HE CAN FILL IN WITH FLAIRBy Mike Mazzeo
Why should the Yankees try to go outside the organization and acquire a third baseman to replace Alex Rodriguez for the next 4-6 weeks when they've already got a perfectly capable internal option?
In 17 games filling in for Derek Jeter at shortstop, Eduardo Nunez hit .339, sparking the Yankees to a 14-3 record.
The 24-year-old doesn't possess A-Rod's power. Then again, Rodriguez hadn't homered in his last 85 at-bats prior to going on the disabled list.
Nunez isn't afraid of pressure. In fact, he thrives under it. That much could be seen when he went 7-for-8 with a homer and three doubles during a two-game stretch at Citi Field during the Subway Series.
Obviously, Nunez has had his defensive struggles. He wouldn't have earned the nickname "Nuneeeeeeeeee" if he was a Gold Glover. But just one of Nunez's 10 errors this season has come at third, where he's handled 22 of 23 on chances, a .957 fielding percentage.
In 2009, Rodriguez started the season on the DL and missed the Yankees' first 28 games after undergoing surgery to repair a torn labrum.
The Yankees tried to get away with playing Cody Ransom, Angel Berroa and Ramiro Pena at third. Needless to say, it didn't go well. They went 13-15 without A-Rod.
But Nunez is better than those players. He's already proved as much when Jeter went down.
The Yankees think highly of Nunez. They envision him as Jeter's potential replacement at short.
So why would the Yankees trade prospects for a short-term fill-in when their super-utility man can step right in?
LET'S NOT GO CRAZY OVER EDDIEBy Ian Begley
This is going to sound crazy, but bear with me: Rather than go with rookie Eduardo Nunez at third while A-Rod nurses his surgically repaired right knee, the Yankees should trade for a veteran to fill the void.
Sure, Nunez was otherworldly during a two-game stretch in the most recent Subway Series.
But can he sustain that play during a potential six-week run at third?
If not, the Yankees risk ruining the 24-year-old's burgeoning confidence. It could all be washed away with one bad 10-game stretch. And, maybe more importantly, they risk chipping away at his potential trade value.
Which is why I say the Yankees need to seriously explore acquiring a veteran third baseman to fill in during A-Rod's absence.
Maybe a Jamey Carroll, who has experience at third and is expendable for the going-nowhere Dodgers. Oakland's Scott Sizemore, Washington's Alex Cora and Houston's Jeff Keppinger are other options.
I can hear you at your computer now: "Is this guy serious? The Yankees went 14-3 with Nunez at short!"
They sure did. But that record can be more accurately attributed to great starting pitching than anything Nunez did.
Taking his two-game star turn in the Subway Series out of the equation, Nunez hit .250 with a .304 on-base percentage. He also made nine errors at short while subbing for an injured Jeter.
So I think the Yankees should certainly give Nunez time at third with A-Rod out, but playing him at third every day until late August may not only hurt his confidence, but his potential trade value.
Which is why the Yankees need to swing a deal for a veteran. Jamey Carroll, you're needed in the Bronx.