New York Yankees: 4 Replacements for Eduardo Nunez If Error Parade Continues
Eduardo Nunez can't catch a break defensively.
Though he's only played in eight games this season, he's already made two errors (one at second base, one at shortstop).
The only thing that's keeping him on the roster right now is that he's hot at the plate. He's hitting .389 in 18 plate appearances. Eventually, though, that bat of his is going to cool down.
Plus, what if Derek Jeter or Robinson Cano suffer a long-term injury? Would you trust a player who committed 20 errors in 90 games (at third base and shortstop combined) last year?
2011 wasn't the only season in which Nunez has had trouble with his glove. Just take a look at how he's done defensively at both the minor and major league levels.
So, if Nunez is once again committing errors all over the place, who would make a viable replacement for him? Here are four options.
Kevin Russo lacks both contact and power at the plate, but he makes up for with his defensive versatility.
Though he hasn't seen any action at the major league level since 2010, his ability on the field that year proved how useful he could be as a utility player.
In 30 games that season, he played at second base, third base and left field, and he committed just one error (which was in left field).
Currently, he's playing in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes Barre. In 10 games (five at second, one at third, four in left field), he has yet to commit an error in 26 total chances.
Ramiro Pena has the most major league experience at playing shortstop and third base of anyone else on the Yankees Triple-A roster.
In three years, he's played in 177 games at the major league level. Though he has plenty of experience at the second and third base positions, his primary position is at shortstop.
Because of this (as well as the fact they have Eric Chavez on the roster), Pena would probably have a better chance of being called up again to the 25-man roster than Russo...provided that he didn't sprain his ankle back in spring training. While he is back on the active roster in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes Barre, it's still a concern for the time being.
In addition, Pena is worse offensively than Russo. Though it's nice that he's a switch-hitter, it doesn't help when you hit .100 in the majors last year and are striking out in every four plate appearances this year.
Unlike Pena and Russo, Brandon Laird has something both of them lack: power potential.
Last season, Laird hit 16 home runs in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. So far this year, he has yet to hit a home run, but he does have seven RBI.
In addition, he does have some experience at the major league level, playing in 11 games last season.
However, unlike Pena and Russo, Laird lacks something, as well: experience at the shortstop position. Instead, third base is his primary position. But he does have experience at first base, which could allow Mark Teixiera a breather here and there.
Doug Bernier is 31 years old and hasn't played a game at the major league level since 2008, when he played in two games for the Colorado Rockies.
So why should the New York Yankees give this guy a shot?
Well, for one, he has more versatility than both Russo and Pena.
Originally a second baseman, he's been getting more playing time at shortstop in recent years. However, those aren't the only two positions he's capable of playing. In fact, throughout his entire career, he's played at every position except for pitcher, catcher and center field, which means he could be used as a defensive replacement for almost anyone on the field.
Need someone to replace Brett Gardner? How about Mark Teixeira? Bernier is capable of doing both.
The other thing is that he's hot right now offensively. Currently, he's hitting .306 in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes Barre. In addition, if you go back to spring training, he was hitting .361 in 36 plate appearances.
If he can continue to perform offensively, he deserves a call-up in the near future.