Minnesota Twins News & Rumors Forum
  • The Rundown: Shortstop Shakeup


    On Tuesday, Jason Parks and the Baseball Prospectus prospect staff wrote an article assessing the industryís views on baseballís four shortstop uber-prospects: Francisco Lindor, Carlos Correa, Javier Baez, and Addison Russell. That quartet, along with Red Sox rookie Xander Bogarts, comprise the strongest crop of shortstop prospects since the trio of Alex Rodriquez, Derek Jeter, and Nomar Garciaparra debuted in the mid-90s. If youíre one of the five teams lucky enough to boast one of these up-and-comers, your future at the position is in good hands. Alas, the Twins are not one of those teams.

    More than any other position on the diamond in recent years, the Twins have consistently struggled to get adequate production from the six-hole. Over the past decade, they have managed to field an above replacement shortstop in just four seasons, with Jason Bartlettís 2007 representing the only truly good season of the bunch. In that time, just three teams have gotten worse offensive production from the position. The teamís incumbent, Pedro Florimon, sports a career line of .215/.275/.315 and is off to another blistering start this season (2-for-20), making it clear the solution does not reside on the current roster.

    It should come as no surprise, then, that on Monday the Twins acquired shortstop Eduardo Nunez from the Yankees in exchange for minor league pitcher Miguel Sulbaran. The 20-year-old Sulbaran, acquired last year from the Dodgers in exchange for catcher Drew Butera, had posted solid numbers over three minor league seasons, but had yet to advance past low-A ball. Though a decent get for the no-hit Butera, he failed to make the Twins top-30 prospects list according to Baseball America and was thus deemed disposable. So what do the Twins get in Nunez? Simply put, he is the anti-Florimon.

    G AVG OBP SLG BB% K% wRC+ E DRS UZR UZR/150
    Florimon 188 .215 .275 .315 7.3% 25.1% 62 26 19 0.7 0.6
    Nunez 270 .267 .313 .379 6.2% 12.3% 86 30 -39 -30.6 -33.9
    Though his career numbers are anything but elite, Nunez clearly rates as an above-average offensive player at the shortstop position. He strikes out half as much as Florimon, gets on base more often, and hits for more power. On the other hand, whereas Florimon has been an above average defender, Nunez has cost the Yankees at least three wins in his brief time at short (though heís been less awful at third base). Both players have committed an inordinate number of errors, but Florimonís range has allowed him to compensate for those mistakes in a way that Nunez simply cannot. Essentially, the Twins now possess two flawed alternatives, and the question becomes which skill set the organization values more.

    Given that they made no real effort to acquire a replacement for Florimon this offseason, at least that we are aware of, the Twins clearly liked the glove enough to overlook his black-hole offense. On the other hand, this is the same team that is actively trying to convert a 34-year-old Bartlett into a backup outfielder and recently started Jason Kubel and Chris Colabello at the corners (in the same game!), so defense is clearly not the organizationís end-all, be-all. With Nunez ticketed for Triple-A, Florimon does not appear to be in imminent danger of losing his hold on the starting gig. However, if the defense slips at all and his average continues to hover around the Mendoza Line, the club would be wise to see what it has in Nunez in what figures to be another lost season.

    Lastly, it remains to be seen what effect the acquisition of Nunez will have on Danny Santana, the teamís ninth-rated prospect (via BA) and someone viewed as a possible replacement for Florimon down the road. Santana has proven incapable of drawing a walk and commits an obscene amount of errors, but he has hit at every level and had been starting for Triple-A Rochester to begin the season. If Nunez becomes the teamís new starting shortstop, a demotion to Double-A New Britain is not out of the question for Santana, who at this point in his development needs as many reps in the field as he can get.

    The trade for Nunez will likely have little impact on the future of the Twins, but if nothing else it serves as another story to follow in what will likely be another long season in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. #p2c

    Originally published at pitching2contact
    Comments 91 Comments
    1. jorgenswest's Avatar
      jorgenswest -
      Quote Originally Posted by Willihammer View Post
      At what point do we think about putting Plouffe or Dozier back at SS?
      Both would be better defenders than Nunez.

      Here is an article written in 2011 about Nunez. It doesn't include any of the defensive metrics that suggest that he should never play SS. It was before he had the extended opportunity.

      Two quotes from the article...

      "I was reminded of two virtually identical sentences about Nunez that were spoken, months apart, by two different Major League General Managers."

      “As near as I can tell,” the first told me, “there are only two clubs who believe Nunez is anything more than a glorified utility infielder – the Yankees and Seattle.” The other said “I believe only two teams believe Nunez is more than a utilityman – maybe a Wilson Betemit. Seattle and the Yankees. And I’m not sure the Yankees really believe it.”
      Nunez is not a major league infielder. There was a joke going around the Yankees earlier this year that he was on the roster entirely to make Derek Jeter look like a defensive all-star.
      Since 2011 Nunez had more than enough chances to prove those GMs wrong. He didn't come close.

      He may be down to one team that believes he can be a major league shortstop. Let's hope that the Twins are just smarter than the 29 other organizations.
    1. cmathewson's Avatar
      cmathewson -
      Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Brooks View Post
      These guys are very young, and in many cases immature.
      I'm not giving the organization a free pass on giving up on Sulbaran just because he showed up "out of shape".
      1) Pitchers don't necessarily need to be in great shape to be good at their job. Take David Wells for example. He put up very good numbers last year, why not give him an opportunity to do it again, and if it starts to look like his performance is bothered by his weight or conditioning, address it then?

      2) We are just going to bail on our prospects every time they don't do exactly what the organization asks them to in the offseason?
      Eddie Rosario, allegedly, cares more about getting high than he does his baseball career. Are we just going to bail on him as well?

      Not being able to make the CR rotation was not because of his performance, he pitched great last year. If the organization couldn't find a spot for him, that is on them, he couldn't have done much more last year to earn a spot somewhere this year.

      I'm not saying this will be another one, but this organization is starting to develop a track record of giving away talent in head scratching trades. Ramos for Capps, Garza for Delmon, Gomez for Hardy for Hoey, Liriano for Escobar, etc.
      They weren't going to just give him a job over other guys who earned it, like Stewart. If he can't make the Cedar Rapids rotation, he's effectively worthless.
    1. cmathewson's Avatar
      cmathewson -
      Quote Originally Posted by jokin View Post
      A few thoughts and facts:

      Nunez is already on the 40 man roster.

      Procedurally, he has to go to Rochester based on maintaining his options.

      He will be starting at SS there sooner rather than later.

      The organization has said they brought him in as an alternative at SS.

      If he isn't clicking, they will ship him out for whatever they can get before just keeping him around as depth.
      They waited until he cleared waivers to make the trade. Then they "assigned" him to Rochester. Nothing in the language of the announcement suggests he was added to the 40 man. It didn't say he was optioned. Why would they add him if they didn't have to?
    1. USAFChief's Avatar
      USAFChief -
      Quote Originally Posted by jorgenswest View Post
      Both would be better defenders than Nunez.Here is an article written in 2011 about Nunez. It doesn't include any of the defensive metrics that suggest that he should never play SS. It was before he had the extended opportunity.Two quotes from the article...Since 2011 Nunez had more than enough chances to prove those GMs wrong. He didn't come close.He may be down to one team that believes he can be a major league shortstop. Let's hope that the Twins are just smarter than the 29 other organizations.
      Well, that'd be one more GM than the number who think Florimon is a major league hitter.
    1. spycake's Avatar
      spycake -
      Quote Originally Posted by cmathewson View Post
      They waited until he cleared waivers to make the trade. Then they "assigned" him to Rochester. Nothing in the language of the announcement suggests he was added to the 40 man. It didn't say he was optioned. Why would they add him if they didn't have to?
      Nunez was never waived. He was DFA, giving the Yankees 10 days to trade or waive him. They chose to trade him.

      He is listed on the official 40 man now too:
      http://minnesota.twins.mlb.com/team/...n.jsp?c_id=min
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by cmathewson View Post
      They waited until he cleared waivers to make the trade. Then they "assigned" him to Rochester. Nothing in the language of the announcement suggests he was added to the 40 man. It didn't say he was optioned. Why would they add him if they didn't have to?
      http://espn.go.com/mlb/team/roster/_...innesota-twins

      I'm not sure if I understand your post, at all. If you scroll down to the bottom of the 40 man list, there he is. The Twins arranged a trade to be certain Nunez wouldn't be claimed from underneath them. Every beat reporter has been receiving inside information that Nunez is being given every chance to claim the major league job. As I predicted in my post, he started at SS yesterday for the Wings.

      From the Twins website:

      April 8, 2014 Optioned INF Eduardo Nunez to Rochester (IL).
      The Twins optioned Nunez because he had an option left. He is in Rochester to get his timing down and to demonstrate that he's major league ready.
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by USAFChief View Post
      Well, that'd be one more GM than the number who think Florimon is a major league hitter.
      Touche!!!
    1. Mr. Brooks's Avatar
      Mr. Brooks -
      Quote Originally Posted by cmathewson View Post
      They weren't going to just give him a job over other guys who earned it, like Stewart. If he can't make the Cedar Rapids rotation, he's effectively worthless.
      What was he supposed to do to "earn it"?
      If a 2.96 ERA and 3.5:1 K/BB ratio (as a 19 year old) were not enough to "earn" a job, then I'm not sure what more he was supposed to do?
    1. jorgenswest's Avatar
      jorgenswest -
      Quote Originally Posted by USAFChief View Post
      Well, that'd be one more GM than the number who think Florimon is a major league hitter.
      Florimon's hitting matches Nunez' fielding.

      Is Nunez' hitting a match for Florimon's fielding?
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Brooks View Post
      What was he supposed to do to "earn it"?
      If a 2.96 ERA and 3.5:1 K/BB ratio (as a 19 year old) were not enough to "earn" a job, then I'm not sure what more he was supposed to do?
      Grow 2 inches and lose 30 pounds?
    1. spycake's Avatar
      spycake -
      Quote Originally Posted by jokin View Post
      http://espn.go.com/mlb/team/roster/_...innesota-twins

      I'm not sure if I understand your post, at all. If you scroll down to the bottom of the 40 man list, there he is. The Twins arranged a trade to be certain Nunez wouldn't be claimed from underneath them. Every beat reporter has been receiving inside information that Nunez is being given every chance to claim the major league job. As I predicted in my post, he started at SS yesterday for the Wings.

      From the Twins website:



      The Twins optioned Nunez because he had an option left. He is in Rochester to get his timing down and to demonstrate that he's major league ready.
      To be fair, the DFA process makes it a little confusing, because it seemingly removes him from the Yankees 40 man right away. But more accurately, it gave them an extra 40 man spot and rendered Nunez ineligibe to play until they somehow removed him from their 40 man (either trade or waivers).

      But yeah, logically, if he was waived, we (or someone else) would have simply claimed him, no trade necessary.
    1. spycake's Avatar
      spycake -
      Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Brooks View Post
      What was he supposed to do to "earn it"?
      If a 2.96 ERA and 3.5:1 K/BB ratio (as a 19 year old) were not enough to "earn" a job, then I'm not sure what more he was supposed to do?
      I am no scout, but in addition to the numbers, it worries me that two teams in the past year have targeted Sulbaran (even if logically two teams were also willing to part with him). And if he succeeds with the Yankees, it will hurt even more.
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by jorgenswest View Post
      Florimon's hitting matches Nunez' fielding.

      Is Nunez' hitting a match for Florimon's fielding?
      Since we've all experienced the horror of Nishi at SS..... and given the horror stories being written about Nunez's defense in advance of his arrival, the only way that expectations for Nunez's fielding can go is up- so I don't think your first comparison fits. The Twins desperately need some resemblance of a leadoff man, it's likely that Nunez won't be great in that regard, but again, such a low bar has been set for those expectations, as well.
    1. USAFChief's Avatar
      USAFChief -
      Quote Originally Posted by jorgenswest View Post
      Florimon's hitting matches Nunez' fielding.Is Nunez' hitting a match for Florimon's fielding?
      That seems like a question better suited for farmersonly.com
    1. jorgenswest's Avatar
      jorgenswest -
      Quote Originally Posted by USAFChief View Post
      That seems like a question better suited for farmersonly.com
      My old age or lack of intelligence probably keep me from getting the response.

      I hope the Twins are assessing how much replacing Florimon with Nunez will cost in runs defensively. There will be a cost. Is it 1 run every 4 games? 3 games? 10 games?

      They need to match that with the increase in runs as a result of the change in offense.

      If it is a wash, wouldn't it be better to go with the better defender? It will be a savings on the pitching staff and bullpen.

      I am not sure the answer is at the referenced site. I hope the Twins are getting better advice.
    1. USAFChief's Avatar
      USAFChief -
      Quote Originally Posted by jorgenswest View Post
      My old age or lack of intelligence probably keep me from getting the response.I hope the Twins are assessing how much replacing Florimon with Nunez will cost in runs defensively. There will be a cost. Is it 1 run every 4 games? 3 games? 10 games?They need to match that with the increase in runs as a result of the change in offense.If it is a wash, wouldn't it be better to go with the better defender? It will be a savings on the pitching staff and bullpen. I am not sure the answer is at the referenced site. I hope the Twins are getting better advice.
      It was a poor humor attempt, something akin to "is it better to bleed to death or drown?" ... I too hope the Twins are making g a comparison of the two. Where we differ is, I dont think the math is accurate enough to be a primary factor in the decision making process when it comes to defense.
    1. USAFChief's Avatar
      USAFChief -
      And for the record, I doubt Nunez is a long term answer either.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by spycake View Post
      I am no scout, but in addition to the numbers, it worries me that two teams in the past year have targeted Sulbaran (even if logically two teams were also willing to part with him). And if he succeeds with the Yankees, it will hurt even more.
      So far, that "targeting" has yielded Drew Butera and Eduardo Nunez in return for the mighty Sulbaran.

      The only things that are head-scratching about this entire scenario:

      1. That the Twins EVER thought Florimon was an acceptable starter in MLB

      2. Why people suddenly care about a 5'9" pitcher that showed up to camp 30 lbs overweight, a guy they traded for Drew-freakin-Butera

      3. Again, Drew-freakin-Butera

      I don't like Nunez. I don't care about Sulbaran, really. I can understand the front office's desire for MI depth but come on, this should have been addressed four months ago and I'm pretty confident in saying that Eduardo Nunez is just a different shade of lipstick for the pig that is the Twins' MLB shortstop situation.

      But I see no reason to get upset about the "loss" of Sublaran, either.
    1. Mr. Brooks's Avatar
      Mr. Brooks -
      Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
      So far, that "targeting" has yielded Drew Butera and Eduardo Nunez in return for the might Sulbaran.

      The only things that are head-scratching about this entire scenario:

      1. That the Twins EVER thought Florimon was an acceptable starter in MLB

      2. Why people suddenly care about a 5'9" pitcher that showed up to camp 30 lbs overweight, a guy they traded for Drew-freakin-Butera

      3. Again, Drew-freakin-Butera

      I don't like Nunez. I don't care about Sulbaran, really. I can understand the front office's desire for MI depth but come on, this should have been addressed four months ago and I'm pretty confident in saying that Eduardo Nunez is just a different shade of lipstick for the pig that is the Twins' MLB shortstop situation.

      But I see no reason to get upset about the "loss" of Sublaran, either.
      It's not uncommon for some people to have wildly differing opinions of prospects, especially when you get past the top 10 per organization.
      I liked Sulbaran when they got him, and liked him even more after the year he put up last year.
      His height means nothing to me. (Plus he's 5'10" not 5'9") If a guy can make it as a major leaguer with one arm, then a guy can make it at 5'10".
      Showing up overweight also means nothing to me.
      1) We don't know how the weight will affect his pitching, if it all. Plenty of fat pitchers have succeeded in baseball. Sabbathia for one, Wells for another. He should have been given a chance to see if it affected his pitching or not, and if i did, address it then.
      2) These are young people. The coaches and org should be there to guide them and help them, not ship them out the first time they screw up.

      I think Sulbaran is a good prospect.

      Nunez has a career negative WAR. To me it is pretty dysfunctional that you can't even find someone in your own organization that you feel confident can equal or better someone with a negative WAR.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      And my point is that I don't really care about the trade. I've never seen either player actually play baseball.

      The Twins obviously didn't like Sulbaran for whatever reason. They see something in Nunez, though I'm not really sure what that is.

      At the end of the day, the likelihood of any of this mattering one bit is pretty low. I'll reserve judgment about this entire situation until something comes of it, which is unlikely to ever happen at all.

      Unless we want to start talking about Joe Benson again. That was fun.

      These aren't even marginal prospects we're talking about here. Most of us haven't seen either of them play a significant amount of baseball, enough to make a declarative statement about them as a player. I'm not sure what there is to really get upset about. Teams make these kinds of moves all year, every year.
©2014 TwinsCentric, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Interested in advertising with Twins Daily? Click here.