It was a fair question. Even if they didn’t move Derek Jeter to third, which was never a realistic option on the table, they could just use Nunez at third. However, Yankees GM Brian Cashman shot that idea down pretty emphatically. Cashman insisted that Nunez was a shortstop only and would only be used in that position next year.
This meant that Nunez didn’t have a position. Jeter is still under contract for one more year with a player option for another after that and if Nunez was a shortstop only that meant there was no position for him. But what were the Yankees to do? Nunez is horrible defensively and only even occasionally flashes ability while playing shortstop.
But the Yankees have obviously reconsidered because, well, if they want to keep him they’re going to have to use him somewhere and A-Rod on the DL, even with Kevin Youkilis in the mix, they also need a third baseman pretty badly.
“If he is at the big-league level, he is going to have to,” Cashman told Andrew Marchand of ESPNNewYork.com. “We have everyday guys at other positions. If he makes our club, it will be at a utility role.”
“At an everyday basis, he is a shortstop,” Cashman later added. “If not, you could play him anywhere, except for catcher and first.”
Ultimately though, the team is not finished being constructed. They are still going to get an outfielder and probably a player or two to fill in at DH while A-Rod is out. Hopefully they get a catcher too, but Cashman will certainly keep his eyes open for solid bench pieces and he acknowledged that some things may change between now and the end of spring training to the point where Nunez doesn’t even have a role on the team.
“(Nunez) could be a starting shortstop at Triple-A,” Cashman said. “He could be helping us on the big-league level. It remains to be seen how our team shakes out and how he looks in the spring.”
Needless to say, as bad as Nunez is defensively, this is a much better and more realistic scenario than the ‘Nunez-is-a-shortstop-only’ line that Cashman was going with earlier this offseason. With Jeter around that made it sound like he was as good as traded. Now it looks like they’re in a wait and see mode and are open to any possibilities.
By the way, Jayson Nix is also in the mix for a utility role with the Yankees. Nunez probably has a slight advantage over him though as he has slightly more pop in his bat and, most importantly, Nix has no spot on the 40-man roster.