While Drew loses tag, Yankees DFA Nunez

Tuesday was a big day for free-agent shortstop Stephen Drew. With the regular season officially underway for nearly every Major League team, Drew no longer has to worry about being saddled with draft pick compensation if he hits the free-agent market next winter. That means a one-year deal is now a welcome option for him, though it still will cost the Tigers their first-round draft pick (23rd overall) to sign him anytime before this year’s draft begins June 6.

Tuesday was also a big day on the shortstop market through the waiver wire, where former Yankees shortstop-in-waiting Eduardo Nunez is about to land. The Bronx Bombers designated him for assignment Tuesday to make room for Yangervis Solarte on the roster.

MLB.com’s Yankees reporter, Bryan Hoch, has a good breakdown of Nunez’s situation on his blog, including Yankees GM Brian Cashman using the words “fresh start” in his explanation.

“We’re allotted 10 days to make an assignment of his contract,” Cashman told the Yankees beat writers, “so stay tuned.”

That sounds very much like Nunez is about to be on the move.

There was a time when the 26-year-old Nunez was seen as the logical successor to Derek Jeter. He started 69 games at shortstop last season with Jeter out, though a strained rib cage cost him two months as well. That said, there’s a reason why the Yankees are going with Solarte and parting ways with Nunez. His defense was disappointing when he started, including limited range and an erratic arm, and his OPS dropped to a career-low .679. The fact that the Yankees were supposedly looking for infield help on the trade market early this spring says something about where Nunez had fallen on the depth chart.

The advantage Nunez has over Alex Gonzalez, obviously, is age. For all the questions about his game, whether he can hold up over the course of a season shouldn’t be one of them.

Like Gonzalez, Nunez bats right-handed, so it’s hard to see the Tigers keeping both and platooning them. Thus, if the Tigers were to take a shot on Nunez, they’d have to believe he can step in right away and be a regular shortstop. In addition, Nunez would have to pass through most of the American League on waivers before the Tigers would be able to make a claim. So if Detroit wants him, it might have to work out a trade for him.

Ultimately, it comes down to this: Does Eduardo Nunez provide any more certainty at shortstop over the course of a season than Alex Gonzalez? And if it’s close, is it worth swinging a deal for him and giving up parts for the latest fix at short, especially if more errors and wayward throws could lead the Tigers back to Drew?

Speaking of Drew, there’s no sign yet that anything’s moving on that front. While Drew couldn’t sign anywhere before today if he wanted to shed the draft-pick drag next winter, that doesn’t mean teams weren’t able to negotiate with him ahead of today. And if the Tigers had any thought of adding Drew on the second day of the season, I doubt they would have brought in Alex Gonzalez and given up Steve Lombardozzi eight days ago. Thus, the waiting game continues.

Could the Tigers wait until June, see how Gonzalez holds up and then revisit Drew, with no draft pick required at that point? It’s possible, but there’s no guarantee he’ll linger on the market for two more months; the latest injury to Jose Reyes in Toronto shows how unforeseen needs can pop up elsewhere. More importantly, two months encompass a lot of games, and you can’t expect Drew to be ready immediately after signing. Even if he’s in game shape, he’d need his timing at the plate.

In summary: If you thought the Tigers closer watch was a long-running, painful saga last year around this time, this could conceivably go on longer, even if the Tigers made a play for Nunez. Gonzalez, for all his heroics Monday, still needs to play better — mainly in the field — if he’s going to grab the role and slow the speculation.


No thanks on Nunez and Drew.

Heck, I don’t know. Gonzalez hasn’t played SS for 2 years so he’s probably rusty. I’d wait til June.

Why are we even talking about this?

Good place for him he can stay in Queens .

poor Mets fans…… guess who is their closer now?

Not sure if this has been talked about on the blog yet, but Mike Hessman is back with the Mud Hens, am looking forward to catching a few games and seeing if he can catch the homerun record. Good article here

If jason is worried about the ss situation it is serious. Alex g was signed to replace a glove. I said it before.he can be as reliable as jhonny. And anyone can replace iglesias bat.he is washed up? Maybe but he was very good before the last surgery. Nvñez? He is no better than romine and there is nothing tradeable remaining but for perez and suarez and they could be needed soon. The 2b is coming from 2 bad years. Did they trade lombo fos 2 games rental?

Brendan ryan to dl. Nuñez could remain a yankée

Couple of things. First-very nice nicely done Jason. Second, doesn’t make sense to me either. DD not likely to be interested in Drew. The money, the trades, his agent, the time he could actually contribute. These things just don’t add up.
I think we will see Gonzalez being given a good chance to hold down the job. His heroics aside on Monday, I see that as being an unrealistic expectation.

Yankees have some serious problems, and I am not sure how getting rid of Nunez helps them. The Astros looked a lot better than them last night (I know – 1 game, etc.) But Jeter looks like a guy playing out the string in April, Texeira had a dribbler for a hit, and CC Sabathia’s velocity is down.

Why all the doubts on Gonzales? Because of an error on opening day? Let’s ride it out. He has been squaring up the ball well. And Romine needs some starts.

Mr. D can’t stand unearned runs. The shortstops we have now need to learn to play together and that takes some time.

It was a huge surprise to see the Astros take 2 out of 3 . Then another Yankee loss to To the BlueJays yesterday really makes you wonder .

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