Will the New York Yankees and Atlanta Braves Reunite at the Trade Table?

By Craig Williams

A report came out last night that the Atlanta Braves have notified the New York Yankees that they are interested in shortstop Eduardo Nunez.  John Harper foolishly and annoyingly suggests that the New York Yankees should consider packaging Nick Swisher with Eduardo Nunez in exchange for starting pitcher Jair Jurrjens.  Harper thinks that Jair Jurrjens could come in and provide the New York Yankees with the No. 2 type starter that they’ve been coveting since Cliff Lee opted for a return to the Philadelphia Phillies.  Personally, I’m just getting tired of everyone – fans, writers, “experts” – tossing around middle-of-the-rotation products as top-of-the-rotation solutions.  I already talked about the Chicago White Sox’ John Danks a couple of days ago and I would actually trade less for Jair Jurrjens – whose peripheral stats reveal that he would be miscast as a front-end starter.  The New York Yankees would be better off just paying Edwin Jackson his Scott Boras negotiated salary.  Perhaps I’m just a starting pitching snob, but if my team is going to trade away key pieces of the present and near future, I want the return to make a bang.

Another thing that needs to stop among Yankees fans in this particular case is the hypothetical trade proposals bringing OF Jason Heward to the Bronx.  I would love that as much as anybody, but let’s be serious.  That dude isn’t going anywhere.  Especially not for a package centered around Nunez and Swisher.  Might as well just throw some mediocre packages together for Tommy Hanson while your at it.  Fans of every team throw out silly trade proposals, but I’m just asking that we sprinkle a pinch of reality into our crock pots of fantasy.

As far as what might happen in the real world, I’m not quite sure yet.  It really depends on how much the Braves value Nunez compared to the Yanks.  Even though Nunez is a bench player in the Bronx, he provides a lot of value because he can back up 2B, SS, 3B and the OF.  His defense at those positions may leave something to be desired, but to have a backup at each of those positions in one package is a luxury that shouldn’t be dismissed too easily.  Not only that, but Nunez has some offensive ability.  He’ll probably never sniff Derek Jeter’s level of production, but he’s not going to be Rey Ordonez either.  Now if the Braves view him as a starter, as Harper suggests, they might be willing to open up discussions beyond Jurrjens.

This will be an interesting (potential) partnership to keep an eye on.  The Atlanta Braves have a lot of pitching talent – of the young and established variety – and the New York Yankees have a starting-caliber shortstop.  Both are hot commodities and each one wants the other.  This will certainly be a situation that will produce plenty of additional speculation.  Stay tuned.

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