Brian Cashman shot down any chance of the Yankees signing Johnny Damon to replace the injured Curtis Granderson and the general manager also ruled out Eduardo Nunez as an option to play left field, saying: “I don’t think he profiles as an outfielder with the bat.”
That may surprise some Yankee fans because the knock on Nunez has mostly been about his shaky defense, but Cashman is right. Nunez has hit just .272 with a .318 on-base percentage and .384 slugging percentage in 180 games as a big leaguer after hitting even worse at Triple-A.
He adds some value with his speed, but Nunez simply doesn’t have the power or plate discipline associated with corner outfielders. They can do better as a short-term fill in, or at least they should be able to.
The Brewers reportedly signed third baseman Mike Moustakas to a one-year, $10 million contract on Sunday. While the deal is not yet official, MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy reports that the Brewers plan to give Moustakas a look at second base during spring training. If all goes well, he will be the primary second baseman and Travis Shaw will stay at third base.
The initial thought was that Moustakas would simply take over at third base for the more versatile Shaw. Moustakas has spent 8,035 of his career defensive innings at third base, 35 innings at first base, and none at second. In fact, he has never played second base as a pro player. Shaw, meanwhile, has spent 268 of his 4,073 1/3 defensive innings in the majors at second base and played there as recently as October.
This is certainly an interesting wrinkle to signing Moustakas, who is a decent third baseman. He was victimized by another slow free agent market, not signing until March last year on a $6.5 million deal with a $15 million mutual option for this season. That option was declined, obviously, and he ended up signing for $5 million cheaper here in February as the Brewers waited him out. Notably, Moustakas did not have qualifying offer compensation attached to him this time around.
Last season, between the Royals and Brewers, the 30-year-old Moustakas hit .251/.315/.459 with 28 home runs and 95 RBI in 635 plate appearances.