John Harper of the New York Daily News reports that the Braves have asked the Yankees about the availability of Eduardo Nunez. That’s fine as far as it goes. The Braves need someone to play shortstop and there aren’t a ton of great candidates available.
Think of it as last call. You look around and find someone that might make you feel good for a little while. I won’t judge you, man. That is unless you actually think you love that person at the end of the bar:
“They need offense, they need a shortstop because they don’t want to bring (Alex) Gonzalez back, and they like Nunez a lot,” Harper’s source said. “They know the jury is out on him defensively, but they think his offense is strong enough that he could move to the outfield if he can’t be their long-term answer at short.”
Er, OK. Look, Nunez has his uses, but he also has an OBP of .318 and a grand total of 30 homers in 2700+ career minor league plate appearances. I know it’s not the 90s anymore, but if it’s offense which makes him attractive to you, Frank Wren, you may want to make sure you aren’t goggling.
Not to say that there isn’t a lot of room for the Braves and Yankees to make a trade here. The Braves have a lot of pitching lying around and will have to move Jair Jurrjens or Tommy Hanson — almost certainly Jurrjens — at some point soon. These two teams have hooked up in trades in the past and it would not be at all shocking if they did again.
But Braves: you had better ask for something more than Eduardo Nunez’s mighty bat if you’re going to make a deal, OK?
If you are old enough and lame enough as I am, you may have lurked around on sabermetic message boards in the 1990s. If you did, you may have heard of Sherri Nichols, who back in the day, was a significant contributor to the advancement of statistical analysis, particularly defensive analysis.
While it’s probably better that not everyone is as old and nerdy as me, the downside of it is that most people haven’t heard of Nichols and know nothing about her contributions. That changes today with Ben Lindbergh’s excellent analysis of Nichols and her work over at The Ringer, which I recommend that you all read.
The short version: Nichols is the one who planted the seed about on-base percentage being valuable in the mind of Baseball Prospectus Founder Gary Huckabay, back in the late 80s. She’s also the one most responsible for the rise of zone-based defensive metrics in the 1990s, such as Defensive Average, which she created and which served as the basis for other such metrics going forward. She also played a critical role in the development of RetroSheet, which collected almost all extant box score and play-by-play information going back to the turn of the 20th century, thereby making so much of the information available at Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs possible. A key contribution there: making the information free and available to everyone, rather than closing the underlying data off as proprietary and either charging for access or keeping it in-house like some recent data collectors have chosen to do. Ahem.
A larger takeaway than all of Nichols’ contributions is just how loathe the baseball community was to listen to a woman back then. I mean, yeah, they’re still loathe to listen to women now, as indicated by the small number of women who hold jobs in baseball operations departments, but back then it was even worse, as evidenced by Lindbergh’s stories and Nichols’ anecdotes.
A great read and a great history lesson.