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Twins acquire Eduardo Nunez from Yankees

Apr 7, 2014, 5:35 PM EST

Eduardo Nunez AP AP

Last week the Yankees designated Eduardo Nunez for assignment and now they’ve traded the utility infielder to the Twins in exchange for Single-A pitching prospect Miguel Sulbaran.

Nunez was once viewed by some people as the heir apparent for Derek Jeter in New York, but he isn’t a good enough defender to play shortstop regularly and with a lifetime .692 OPS isn’t a good enough hitter to be an asset at third base regularly. For now he’ll head to Triple-A for the Twins, but expect to see Nunez in Minnesota at some point this season in a part-time role.

Sulbaran went from the Dodgers to the Twins in exchange for light-hitting backup catcher Drew Butera last season. He’s not considered a top prospect–before this season I ranked him as the 28th-best prospect in the Twins’ farm system–but had a lot of success at low Single-A last year and is certainly a decent enough return for the 26-year-old Nunez (and before that for Butera).

  1. tfbuckfutter - Apr 7, 2014 at 5:49 PM

    So he was too good to trade for a rental if Cliff Lee but is totally worth a single-A pitcher no one has heard of?

    Yankees need to stick to getting other teams to buy their overrating of prospects, and stop buying into it themselves.

    • unclemosesgreen - Apr 7, 2014 at 6:04 PM

      I believe Cashman’s contention was not that Nunez was too good to trade for Cliff Lee, but that he was too big of a throw-in piece to accompany Jesus Montero, who was their top prospect at the time. Montero was already part of the offer and you have to make those decisions. They still thought Nunez could be a SS and valuable backup to an aging Jeter.

      Also at the time they had the best record in baseball and were sort of kicking the tires on Lee while making sure that he wouldn’t be gotten too cheaply by anyone else. Lots of Yankees’ negotiations are more about setting a market than anything else.

      • tfbuckfutter - Apr 7, 2014 at 6:09 PM

        Right.

        They didn’t want to trade their two best prospects.

        Their two best prospects who were Eduardo Nunez and Jesus Montero.

      • tfbuckfutter - Apr 7, 2014 at 6:10 PM

        Per Joel Sherman:

        “They simply could not justify, in their mind, giving up their two best position prospects at Triple-A for this trade because they wanted Lee, but they did not absolutely need Lee.”

      • unclemosesgreen - Apr 7, 2014 at 6:12 PM

        There’s a big, big, probably 10-15 prospect difference between “two best prospects” and “two best position player prospects at AAA.”

      • tfbuckfutter - Apr 7, 2014 at 6:14 PM

        And where are those other 10-15 better prospects now?

      • unclemosesgreen - Apr 7, 2014 at 6:19 PM

        Montero was agreed upon, and the other piece the Mariners wanted was either Nunez or Nova. Looks like the Yankees did a pretty good job holding on with Nova.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Apr 7, 2014 at 6:39 PM

        And where are those other 10-15 better prospects now?

        Nunez wasn’t a highly rated prospect. Here’s Klaw’s 2010 write up (1), and here’s RiverAveBlues.com top 30 prospect write up (2).

        1 – http://insider.espn.go.com/mlb/insider/columns/story?columnist=law_keith&id=4865694
        2 – http://riveraveblues.com/2010/02/2010-preseason-top-30-prospects-21281/

      • mikhelb - Apr 7, 2014 at 11:23 PM

        Also Cashman denied Núñez to the Mariners because they were stalling making time to check what the Rangers offer was.

        At one point it was agreed that the trade would be:

        Cliff Lee for Jesús Montero (MLB’s #2 prospect), David Adams and either Nova, Noesí or Núñez (Bañuelos and Betances were off limits).

        The Ms agreed to the trade but then said Adams was injuried and asked for Nova AND Núñez plus Montero.

        When word went around that the Ms were shopping Lee talking about what the Yanks would give them in return is what prompted Cashman to take that stance of ¨we won´t trade Núñez¨, it was said that an agreement had been reached and at in the earlier hours of the next day the Ms were contacted by the Rangers offering Smoak (which is whom they wanted and even tried to triangulate a trade with the Rangers and Yankees to acquire Montero and Smoak, or acquire Montero+Nova+Nunez+Noesi and trade Nova/Noesi and Nunez for Smoak).

    • NYTolstoy - Apr 7, 2014 at 11:33 PM

      I’m gonna go out on a lim. And say you are not a yankee supporter? Lol sometimes you seem like a bazaro dirtyharry. Love the blue jays right? Hate the evil empire and what not.

  2. happytwinsfan - Apr 7, 2014 at 8:26 PM

    the guy they once thought might be jeter’s hier, that’s a pretty decent flyer. he could hit in front of the 30 year old rookie and jason lazarus kubel. the miracle continues (hic).

  3. pisano - Apr 7, 2014 at 9:25 PM

    Edurado Nunez = Hands of Stone. If the Twins are smart they won’t issue him a glove.

    • mikhelb - Apr 7, 2014 at 11:25 PM

      I baptized Nunez as ¨hands of stone¨ at River Ave Blues and it seems the nickname stuck (in honor of the great Roberto Duran)…

  4. anxovies - Apr 7, 2014 at 10:58 PM

    Sulbaran is a 20 year old lefty who has a 21-10 WL record at Rookie and A ball, 3.15 ERA and 1.19 WHIP. I’ll take that over a throw that goes 20 feet over the first baseman’s head any day.

    • mikhelb - Apr 7, 2014 at 11:30 PM

      The problem with Nunez is not his throw which is decent compared to other options (Brian Roberts for example) is that he has range and can get to a lot of balls but he drops them. It is way better to have a SS with less range but is surehanded and with a strong throw. What good is a fielder who can get to 30 more balls if he is going to drop 10% more balls than a SS with less range but can make outs in 85% or more of the time he gets to the ball (which is a similar percentage of success to what Ripken had, who also happened to drop a lot of balls and have wild throws, on top of horrible offensive seasons where he wouldnt be benched to respect his record of straight games played).

      • cktai - Apr 8, 2014 at 4:31 AM

        Not sure why you would mention Ripkin, but he has a higher fielding percentage than Jeter while reaching about 100 more balls on average per season.

  5. dirtyharry1971 - Apr 8, 2014 at 7:22 AM

    I always felt that nunez just needed to stay at “1” position and once he learned whatever position that was the rest would take care of itself. He is still a young player and has time but I wouldn’t go trying to make a utility player out of him like the Yanks did.

  6. jfk69 - Apr 8, 2014 at 9:15 AM

    On keeping Nunez in the Lee deal. That was then. This is now.

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