Thursday, July 28, 2016

Scouting the Trade Deadline: Giants Acquire Eduardo Nunez

I have maintained all along that the Giants #1 priority as the 2016 Trade Deadline approached was a hitter who could play either LF or 3B.  They landed the 3B today in Eduardo Nunez.  If that name sounds vaguely familiar, he was once upon a time the replacement at SS for ARod with the Yankees, as unenviable position as their is in baseball.  If you go back and look at Nunez' numbers with the Yankees, he actually played very well.  He just wasn't ARod and the Yankees eventually gave up on him and traded for Didi Gregorius.  Nunez landed in Minnesota, played last year as a reserve IF and found a starting job this year splitting time between SS and 3B.

Nunez can step right in and play 3B for the Giants and give them an upgrade in both power and speed. His batting line so far this season:  .300/.326/.444, 12 HR, 26 SB, 3.6 BB%, 14.2 K% in 391 PA.  He is one of just 3 MLB players to have more than 20 SB's and more than 10 HR's this year.  As you can see he fits perfectly into the Giants hitting model in that he does not walk a lot but he also does not strike out a lot.

Lest you think Nunez is just a flash in the pan, his numbers from last year are .282/.327/.431, 4 HR, 8 SB, 5.9 BB%, 14.2 K% in 204 PA.  His career slash line is .275/.313/.413 in 1635 PA with an average of 11 HR and 33 SB per 600 PA's.   Nunez has 1 year of team control left on his contract although he is arbitration eligible.

The Giants give up Adalberto Mejia.  Who pitched very well early in the season for Richmond and earned a promo to AAA Sacramento where he had a couple of dominant starts and several not so dominant starts.  He was the Giants representative to the international squad for the Futures Game.  I like Mejia as a pitcher.  I hate to see him go, but the Giants are dealing from incredible depth in their minor league pitching which greatly softens the blow and makes this a solid trade for the Giants.

Now, I'm going to start some trouble here.  What do Edwin Escobar, Kendry Flores, Keury Mella and Adalberto Mejia have in common?


  1. Great trade honestly. When you can get a borderline All-Star player for a #4-5 starter, you always say yes on that. The Twins are a sucker for pitchability, innings-eater type of guy and Mejia is a true definition on that.

    I think Mejia, Mella, Flores and Escobar all went to the Futures Game?

  2. Matt Duffy!

    Matt Duffy?

    The Giants needed a closer and got a Matt Duffy replacement? Not that Nunez is some chump, but why bring him in to sit on the bench behind Matt Duffy who is young, cheap, plays everyday, and has real upside?

    The Giants need young stating pitching to replace Cain/Peavy/Cueto over the next two years. Why trade a potential starter in Mejia? His potential to breakout, numbers and stuff were easily equal Beede, Blackburn, Gregorio at this time.

    Outside of a very short term 3B starter until Duffy returns and a bench bat, what did the Giants gain here?

    1. First of all, have you noticed Matt Duffy's name in any minor league boxscores on a rehab assignment lately? I know I haven't!

      Secondly, you must be referring to the Matt Duffy of 2015? He of the .336 BABIP? Because Nunez is a significant upgrade on the Matt Duffy of 2016.

    2. Bobby Evans reportedly spoke to Duffy before the trade to reassure him that his starting job was intact.

  3. This is an interesting moving as it has a couple of implications. First is what it means to Ehire? Nunez would seem to be a similar piece, albeit an upgrade over him. Secondly, could it signal the Giants may try to move one of their young infielders (Panik, Duffy) in attempt to get an upgrade in pitching? Not worried about the pitcher the Giants gave up as generally they do a good job of keeping the "keepers".

    Billy Baseball

    1. Bad news for Ehire for sure. Duffy, not on a rehab now can probably wait around until rosters expand to attempt his comeback IF he were ready to go injury-free tomorrow, which seems unlikely. Plus Duffy MUST have several option years left.

      Hopefully, Nunez is more of a Ross/Scutaro acquire than a Neifi or Guillen. I could see Nunez filling a Blanco role on the team - "best 4th Infielder in baseball!" to paraphrase DocB - a guy they keep around to backup Craw, Panik and Duffy. To push Duffy and Panik. And the hurdle prospects have to get over to join the 25-man roster. Prefer he be a Blanco, but the Giants will also keep him around on an Arias-like contract - less pushing and lower hurdle.

      I don't think Ehire gets over the hurdle. From a preservation of talent perspective, he'll stick around as long as the Giants can keep him and try to get some return for him.

  4. I think this says a few things about the FO perceptions:

    On Duffy, I don't think it means he's out and I think the fall off is sophomore jinx. Giants are too loyal. But it could very well mean they think he's been unhealthy and will need more breaks.

    On Kelby/EA, I think it does mean they don't think they're the guys to spell Duffy. Not a shocker since both were 2b/SS types. We carried two to begin with and I see this more as an indictment about Gillespie than either of those two. Plus, Nunez sounds kind of like a Zobrist type and Giants have always been fascinated with the OF/IN guy. Kelby could get there, but he needs to learn 3b too so this gives you 1.5 years of protection so they can bring Kelby along.

    On pitching, as Doc notes, Meija was not all that dominant in AAA ball and perhaps they are concerned his last year was PED induced. More importantly, I think it signifies their belief that they have enough. They have Beede and Bickford who appear to be the real deal. You've got other guys (Suarez, Gagne, Gregorio, Coonrod) who might be. We need 3 in 2/3 years, and only one next year, and Beede could be ready. Plus, you still have Blach, Heston and maybe even Stratton to be band aids (I actually wonder about Stratton--he seems like a guy who does well and then falls off, and I wonder if he just gets bored by the competition--he won't get bored in the Big League). So, they probably think they have more than enough, and that doesn't even include the ability to get a FA signing with all the money coming off (having guys like Brown, Duffy, Panik, Williamson, etc. take pressure off the contracts).

    Finally, there is the issue about trading for RPs. Maybe the answer is they just don't see the market making sense. I think they're still playing, but they've already promoted Macdonald (I think Osich was sent down to both get rest and work on his mechanics) and are the guys we can get for a make sense price really going to be huge upgrades? Gearrin should be back soon and Okert has pitched pretty well. Maybe the answer was they didn't think they'd get RPs and they're doing what they should not what they can.

    I'm tempted to trust the FO on pitching. They have traded guys that I like and then those guys never pan out. For every Nathan and Wheeler, there are 10x more Alderson (sp?).

  5. Having watched Nunez (I used to live in MN, and still follow the Twinkies a bit), I feel pretty good about this deal. While primarily a SS/3B, he's also played 2B and LF for the Twins, so the Giants can use him as a super utility "Zobrist-lite" player. And he is a 'sparkplug' style player on the basepaths, which we can really use right now.
    Yes, we still need bullpen help, and I hope that a deal emerges on that end. But adding Nunez seems like a good move on its own merits.

  6. EE, KF, KM and now AM are all IFAs signed by Los Gigantes for 200-300K moneys (well EE was a trade but they originally signed him before Texas swooped). They have now all been traded. Time will tell, but the first 3 have not busted through the final barrier.

    I like this trade a lot. Gives the lineup speed, a right handed bat, the ability to rest all of the infield and Pagan insurance when the next pulled hammy comes up. Perfectly happy dealing a 4/5 potential guy. And I've always been low on Mejia, so I think he's more of a pen arm personally. Lots of potential, good age/level scores, a lefty. But the results have never really mashed out, and he's now 5 years deep in the system.

    We're not done yet...