Some fans love him. Some fans loathe him. There are very few, at least from appearances, which are in the middle on the 25-year-old.
The New York Post’s Mike Raimondi wrote Friday morning on his Yankees Blog that general manager Brian Cashman would really like for fans to calm down about Nunez and what they expect to see from him in 2013.
Cashman appeared on the Post’s podcast on Thursday and said while he thinks Nunez can be a good shortstop in the major leagues, talk of moving him to third base or center field aren’t realistic because Nunez just isn’t that good as an offensive player.
Cashman pointed out that Nunez had just a .678 on-base-plus-slugging percentage as a minor leaguer.
“That’s not a great offensive player,” Cashman said.
New York is looking for some outfield help after Curtis Granderson went down on Sunday with a broken arm after he was hit by a pitch during a Grapefruit League game against the Toronto Blue Jays, per CBSSports.com.
But anyone who is thinking Granderson’s injury is an opportunity to find regular at-bats for Nunez is going to be disappointed, according to Cashman.
“I’ve had a lot of people say, you’ve got to get 500 at-bats for this guy, find a position for him as if he’s some sort of offensive juggernaut.”
Last season, Nunez hit .292/.330/.393 with one home run and 11 RBI in 100 plate appearances. He also stole 11 bases in 13 attempts. For his career with the Yankees, he is a .272/.318/.384 hitter with seven homers and 48 RBI to go with 38 steals in 46 tries.
“That’s not something that any organization is going to try and make room for in left field or center field or third base,” Cashman said. “That’s something that does not profile.”
Cashman indicated the plan continues to be to groom Nunez as a potential successor to Derek Jeter at shortstop. But as far as playing anywhere else regularly? Cashman’s message was loud and clear.
As in: Not likely.