Sep 25, 2013; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees shortstop Eduardo Nunez (26) hits a solo home run to left during the third inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Yanks Go Yard Editor Email Rants: Round Two

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Billy and I are at it again. Yes we are using Bill Simmons of Grantland’s email exchange idea, but hey. when it works it works. Let’s jump right in.

JE:  Billy, I’m sick of this snow stuff. Thankfully spring training starts next week to give me some sort of hope. There are still some guys out there in free agency. Who should the Yankees target? Rodney? Drew? Joel Pinero?

BB: I think Drew and Rodney have to be the focus. I know there has been quite a bit of chatter (myself included) about guys like Jimenez, Ervin Santana, etc., but I actually feel pretty good about Pineda coming back strong, and if he falters, Vidal Nuno is my guy.

JE: Finally someone else in the Nuno camp besides me. Felt lonely on that island. I think I may go Rodney over Drew at this point. I’d rather strengthen the bullpen at this point and not throw Banuelos into the ‘pen.

BB: With the New York Yankees already over the $189 mil limit, why not sign both? Drew strengthens second base, Johnson can platoon and third, and Rodney can close out games. I have always loved Nuno, and I think he’s got a ton of upside as a middle of the rotation arm. Banuelos needs to keep starting games, and maybe by the second half, he’s ready to throw a game here and there in the Bronx.

JE: I would love to see them sign both but I don’t think that’s realistic for them. Banuelos needs to start and develop. They are going to need him and Pineda to be what’s been expected of them.
BB: Let’s say Rodney’s out the window…how do you feel about DRob closing out games? I think the wild card could be Betances in that bullpen. I have always loved his arm…
JE: I’m not sure how D-Rob will do in that spot. I think he should get a shot though. I like Kelley and Betances setting up. You build a ‘pen on the cheap and young and the Yanks are doing that…except for Thornton
BB: Yeah, I thought Eric O’ Flaherty would’ve been a much better option as the lefty. There is a reason Thornton didn’t see an inning for Boston in the postseason. If the Yankees don’t sign Rodney, and DRob struggles, you watch, Ruben Amaro will be calling about you know who..
JE: Dont even utter the p word…if there’s a person with a p from Boston I’d rather see Big Papi.
BB: I’m sorry, but I’ve called this move since before I even joined the YGY team. I think he just makes too much sense. He’s fiery, he has an attitude problem, and most important to me-he has had postseason closing success, something DRob has not. I really think Philly would eat some money and take on an Ichiro and perhaps a Romine or Murphy to get him out of town. I would love to see him coming out of the Fenway visitor’s ‘pen in Yankee road grays to stick it to the Red Sox. Instant classic there!
JE: I don’t think they would take Ichiro in the deal. They are old enough. I’d rather deal Ichiro for Putz
BB: I think if the Phillies come out slow out of the gate, they’d be willing to take on an expiring contract, and also look to deal Rollins and Cliff Lee. Could we see the Yankees get involved in a final third run at Lee at the deadline?
JE: At some point there is a budget limit. I don’t think they get involved for Cliff Lee. I don’t think they’d take Ichiro’s deal. I don’t think they’d deal Rollins because I don’t know if they’d really get anything.
BB: I’ve heard several national writers talk about the Phillies impending plight coming in to this season, and if the wheels come off, the thought is that they unload everyone not nailed to the turf, except Cole Hammels. Sure, the Yankees have a limit, but is it worth missing the postseason again if CC is garbage, and the pitching needs some help? I think it’s a win-now mentality, because Cash’s job is on the line if this group fails. Wouldn’t hurt my feelings to see him shown the door regardless.
What prospects are you excited to see this spring? For me, it’s the Dean of Swing, Dean Anna. I heard he’s got a pretty smooth swing.
JE: I wanna see Dean and I also want to see how Slade Heathcott looks. He’s on the 40-man roster now. Is he a guy the Yanks can move forward with in the outfield?
BB: I would someday love to see an outfield of Heathcott, Mason Williams and Tyler Austin. Everyone says the Yankees’ system underperforms. Part of that is because guys never get a chance. They either don’t pan out or are dealt for an aging superstar. I still curse the day Austin Jackson was dealt. From what I’ve read and heard, Dean is the real deal, which surprises me as to why the Padres would deal him. It’s not like they are going to be able to retain Headley. Anna is versatile, and could see some time as the super-utility guy if he can hit at this level.
JE:I think he’s going to back to Triple-A since he has options. I think a guy to watch is Scott Sizemore. High OBP. Can play all over the infield. almost started in Oakland the past couple years if it wasn’t for knee issues. If healthy, he’s on the squad.
BB: I agree completely. If Sizemore is healthy, and that is a big if, he’s the guy, but how long can you keep a pure hitter down? At some point, there might be enough room for both of them, especially when Roberts once again gets hurt. With the roster filled with older players, it may give some of the younger guys brief tryouts at the big league level throughout the year.
JE: If Anna produces in Triple-A, the Yanks will eventually find a spot for him at the bigs. I think Sizemore is at either second or third on opening day.
BB: Until he blows up his knee again leaning over to tie his shoe.
JE: Now now give him a chance…he’s got a better shot to make it through a season than Roberts does.
BB: I agree. I actually really like the Sizemore signing, as I do the Roberts signing. If BRob can give the Yankees 90 games healthy, I think Yankees fans will be pleasantly surprised at his level of production. He’s had plenty of time to rest over the past few seasons.
JE: I think Roberts will be like Youkilis last year…good on paper but can’t stay healthy.
BB: I wouldn’t go that far. Roberts by all accounts, is ready to go. He’s not recovering from any one ailment but rather a career full of nagging injuries. Poukilis on the other hand, came to the Yankees with a bad back, and it finally gave up the goose.
JE: Yes and those nagging injuries will rear their ugly head at some point. To quote Kim Jong Il in Team America World Police: “…it’s inevitable.”
BB: I think if Girardi understands going in that Roberts is like a piece of glass, and handles him properly, I think the Yankees can get 75-90 solid games out of him. That gives Anna, Johnson, Ryan, and Sizemore plenty of at bats.
JE: Johnson will be at third….Ryan only plays short. No love for Nunez?
BB: I think Johnson will play a ton of second, and Ryan is a great glove man. I could see he and Jeter on the field at the same time occasionally. And no, absolutely no love for Nunez. Cut him, DFA him, whatever they need to do. He is worthless. He’s never lived up to expectations with the bat, and his glove is worse than Buckner’s in Game 6 of ’86.
JE: Looks like I’m all alone on Nunez Island. The guy has never had a position where he can just focus on so that he can work on his defense. He got hurt early on last season but  in August had a .286/.337/.381 line and in September and had a .295/.321/.487 line when he came back.
BB: I’m glad he hit when he came back. That’s why I think another season or ten at the minor league level could be the answer to his glove issues. LOL
JE: No, he’ll never win a Gold Glove, but if he gets enough time and enough at-bats he’ll hit.
BB: Okay, I’ll compromise with you. Send him to Triple-A, make him the starting shortstop come hell or high water, and see how he progresses. There is no answer for when the captain retires.
JE: I’m fine with that.  I just don’t understand why Yankee fans treat him like a 4-a player. He’s got ability, he just needs to play.
BB: Yeah, I was much higher on him a couple of years ago than I am at this point in time.
JE: Don’t give up on Nuni quite yet…
BB: Wanna make any predictions on his numbers if he gets 250 at bats or more?
JE: .260-ish, 5 homers 35 RBI, probably 15 steals with 250 at-bats. Eduardran Rynez would be a heck of a shortstop.
BB: He would be a top 10 shortstop in this league!
Jason Evans and Billy Brost serve as the editors of Yanks Go Yard, and will continue their e-mail exchange next month!
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