Twins Insider: Trade for SS Nunez is a sign of short patience with Florimon

  • Article by: LA VELLE E. NEAL III , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 8, 2014 - 12:18 PM

While Pedro Florimon is capable of filling up a highlight reel with his fine glove work, this deal is an indictment of his hitting.

hide

Eduardo Nunez of the New York Yankees scores a ron for the Yankees against the Twins during the 2012 season.

Photo: Jim Mcisaac, Mct - Mct

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Teams usually are comfortable with waiting a few weeks into the regular season before making substantial roster moves, but the Twins appear to be on the verge of bringing in a new shortstop.

So don’t look at the Twins’ deal on Monday for Eduardo Nunez as an innocuous one. They have every intention of summoning him to the majors as soon as he gets his timing down at Class AAA Rochester. The Twins acquired Nunez, 26, from the Yankees on Monday in exchange for lefthander Miguel Sulbaran, who was in the Class A Cedar Rapids starting rotation. Nunez is a player the Twins have asked the Yankees about in the past, and they finally got him.

Asked about Nunez on Monday following the Twins’ 8-3 loss to Oakland, manager Ron Gardenhire said, “We plan on him being a part of it.’’

While Pedro Florimon is capable of filling up a highlight reel with his fine glove work, this deal is an indictment of his hitting. Florimon batted .221 last season in 127 games. He was slowed by appendicitis at the beginning of camp and was limited to 10 spring training games, in which he batted .185. Still, the Twins brought him north to start the regular season, and Florimon is 2-for-20 with two walks and seven strikeouts in 10 games.

Florimon has plenty of speed, but you never would know it because he doesn’t get on base enough to put it in play consistently. And his high strikeout rate has been a concern. If Florimon could hit .240, he would steal 20-25 bases and this move would not have been made.

“Florimon has done everything we’ve asked of him,’’ Gardenhire said. “Offensively, he’s got to bang the ball around.’’

It’s not as if Nunez is a hitting star, but he once was considered to be the heir apparent to Derek Jeter. Nunez is a career .267 hitter with a .307 on-base percentage and .372 slugging percentage. His career WAR (wins above replacement, which determines a player’s overall value) is minus-1.8 compared with 2.6 for Florimon. Nunez has a career range factor at short of 3.66, compared with Florimon’s 5.12.

But the Twins are convinced that what Nunez can do with the bat is worth what they might lose in defense. That can be a risky stance but, despite coming off a road trip in which they scored 38 runs in six games, the Twins know they need functional hitters up and down the lineup. And Florimon has been a speed bump.

“We like the way he swings the bat,’’ Gardenhire said of Nunez. “He can run. He can play shortstop.’’

It’s surprising to see the Twins positioning themselves to make a change one week into the regular season. They waited until May 22 to take Vance Worley out of last year’s starting rotation. This suggests they were looking around for shortstops late in camp. And it’s also surprising they didn’t choose some other options. They could give Eduardo Escobar a chance to claim the position. They could summon Danny Santana from Class AAA Rochester, but bypassing him is understandable for now because he needs to smooth out some defensive rough edges. If anything, Nunez could be a temporary fix until they feel Santana is ready.

“He was mostly a platoon guy when he came up, and it’s tough sometimes when you’re a good prospect, everyone talks about you, and then you come up and play once or twice a week, when Derek Jeter isn’t playing,’’ said Twins righthander Phil Hughes, who played with Nunez with the Yankees. “He would have a problem sometimes with his fielding, he’d make an error, and in New York, it means Derek Jeter’s not playing that day and if you make an error, you hear about it. It can wear on you. He’s a guy who can hit, he hits mistakes. He can make a great play now and then, too.

“I thought he had a lot of talent, a lot of skill. It was just a matter of putting it together, and like a lot of guys, getting to play every day.’’

Teams are willing to sacrifice hitting for a good glove at shortstop, but the Twins apparently decided they can go only so far with that. So unless Florimon suddenly turns into Alan Trammell at the plate, it looks as if there will be a change at one of the vital defensive positions.

 

La Velle E. Neal III • lneal@startribune.com

 

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions
Final(10)2345678910RHE
Minnesota «00201000611140
Kansas City0011010005121
@Ballpark Replay
Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Log | Wrap | Box
W:A.Swarzak(3-1) L:B.Chen(2-4)
HR: MIN- None KAN- A.Gordon (17)

ADVERTISEMENT

Chicago Cubs - LP: J. Arrieta 2 FINAL
Cincinnati - WP: D. Axelrod 7
NY Yankees - LP: S. Kelley 2 FINAL
Detroit - WP: P. Coke 3
Colorado - LP: J. Lyles 1 FINAL
San Francisco - WP: Y. Petit 4
Tampa Bay - LP: K. Yates 4 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: A. Miller 5
Atlanta - WP: M. Minor 6 FINAL
NY Mets - LP: J. Niese 1
Cleveland - WP: C. Carrasco 3 FINAL
Chicago WSox - LP: J. Danks 2
Minnesota - WP: A. Swarzak 11 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: B. Chen 5
Texas - LP: R. Mendez 2 FINAL
Houston - WP: C. McHugh 4
Oakland 3 Bottom 9th Inning
LA Angels 3
Atlanta 24 FINAL
Jacksonville 14
Detroit 23 FINAL
Buffalo 0
Indianapolis 7 FINAL
Cincinnati 35
Kansas City 14 FINAL
Green Bay 34
NY Jets 7 FINAL
Philadelphia 37
St. Louis 13 FINAL
Miami 14
Carolina 10 FINAL
Pittsburgh 0
New England 13 FINAL
NY Giants 16
Washington 24 FINAL
Tampa Bay 10
Baltimore 22 FINAL
New Orleans 13
Chicago 13 FINAL
Cleveland 33
Denver 27 FINAL
Dallas 3
Minnesota 19 FINAL
Tennessee 3
San Francisco 40 FINAL
Houston 13
Arizona 9 FINAL
San Diego 12
Seattle 31 FINAL
Oakland 41
(21) Texas A&M 52 FINAL
(9) So Carolina 28
Wake Forest 10 FINAL
ULM 17
Boise State 13 FINAL
(18) Ole Miss 35
Tulane 31 FINAL
Tulsa 38
Rutgers 41 4th Qtr 3:13
Washington St 38
Weber State 7 4th Qtr 10:52
(19) Arizona State 45
Temple 34 3rd Qtr 1:56
Vanderbilt 7
BYU 8/29/14 6:00 PM
Connecticut
(6) Jacksonville St 8/29/14 6:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Bowling Green 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Western Ky
TX-San Antonio 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Houston
Colorado State 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Colorado
UNLV 8/29/14 9:30 PM
Arizona
Penn State 8/30/14 7:30 AM
UCF
Troy 8/30/14 11:00 AM
UAB
(7) UCLA 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Virginia
Western Mich 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
(5) Ohio State 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Navy
Appalachian St 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Michigan
Ga Southern 8/30/14 11:30 AM
NC State
Boston College 8/30/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
West Virginia 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(2) Alabama
Rice 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
(10) South Dakota St 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(24) Missouri
Fla Atlantic 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(22) Nebraska
California 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Marshall 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
UC Davis 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(11) Stanford
Arkansas 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(6) Auburn
(16) Clemson 8/30/14 4:30 PM
(12) Georgia
Liberty 8/30/14 5:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Ohio U 8/30/14 5:00 PM
Kent State
Louisiana Tech 8/30/14 6:00 PM
(4) Oklahoma
Idaho 8/30/14 6:00 PM
Florida
Stephen F Austin 8/30/14 6:10 PM
(20) Kansas State
Fresno State 8/30/14 6:30 PM
(15) USC
Southern Miss 8/30/14 6:30 PM
Miss State
Texas-El Paso 8/30/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
North Texas 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Texas
(1) Florida State 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State
(14) Wisconsin 8/30/14 8:00 PM
(13) LSU
South Dakota 8/30/14 9:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(25) Washington 8/30/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Utah State 8/31/14 6:00 PM
Tennessee
SMU 8/31/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Louisville
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Ottawa 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Montreal
Winnipeg 8/31/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Saskatchewan 9/7/14 3:00 PM
Winnipeg
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How sure are you that the Twins are on the road to improving?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close