When Eduardo Nunez took the outfield on Monday and Tuesday night, I smiled. Don’t get me wrong, I cringed too, but I smiled. I knew what Girardi was doing and I liked it. Eduardo Nunez will never be a great infielder. He doesn’t have the glove, the instincts and the ability to be truly great like say… Derek Jeter. Nunez can however become a pretty great outfielder. Sure, he flashes the leather like Ahmad Abdul Rahim from the Bad News Bears, but I’d much rather have the guy taking drills and perfecting the outfield than “trying” to play the infield. Why? Because the outfield is an easier position. Now look, this is my opinion based on experience, and there is absolutely no disrespect to the greats that have played outfield before him, but let’s face it, it all goes back to Little League.
If a player had trouble with catching or making a fundamental play, the coach always threw them in the outfield. When the ball goes out there, the object is the run after it, get it or catch it and throw it in the the cut off man quickly. It’s simple stuff. This is coming from a guy that played center field for years. Sure, you need to cover a lot of ground out there and sure you need to know how to catch a ball, where to throw it in and where to play for certain players, believe me, I’m not downplaying it, I’m just saying the strategy is much different than the infield. It’s where Nunez belongs, maybe now and maybe for his career… we will see, because let’s face it, Alex Rodriguez is our 3rd baseman for a long time, Derek Jeter has made it clear he’s not going anywhere and RobinsonCano and Mark Teixiera are most likely sticking around as well. The point is, You need to get Nunez and his bat in the lineup.
He’s got a great bat and plenty of speed and if you can get him playing in the outfield from time to time and let guys like Brett Gardner, Curtis Granderson and Nick Swisher rest once in a while, the team won’t skip a beat. Hey, you don’t have to believe me, after all, this is my opinion and you can have yours, I’m fine with that, but it’s just how I feel and to me, it makes sense.
The Nunez experiment isn’t over by any means. Sure, he banged into the wall Monday night, and had to run in and dive alittle (and made a nice catch), and while he looked alittle awkward, he looked good. Tuesday night, he made an error...a big one, but then I got to thinking... I’m not so sure guys like Andruw Jones and Raul Ibanez couldn't have made the same of those plays either. So yeah, Nunez in the outfield will eventually work… you have youth, speed and you’re slowly going to see a transition from awkward to comfortable. If Eduardo Nunez can play all three outfield positions, you’re going to see him getting plenty of playing time, rotating with GGS and getting plenty of at bats and chances to get on base and use that speed.
Look, it may not be the perfect solution, but it’s a smart solution in my mind. Look, the Yankees have a long term plan and Nunez will be apart of it, trust me, they like this kid. They just didn’t like the errors which is why the outfield is a smart idea. If the outfield can become Eduardo Nunez’s new home… well, we hit the lotto…I believe that.
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