Looking for some cheap steals and saves down the stretch? Here are two players for that late-season/playoff push…
Eduardo Nunez | 2B, SS, 3B | Yankees | Owned: 1% Yahoo!
I touted the 25-year-old Nunez as a steals sleeper way back in February, but he quickly played his way off New York’s big league roster not with his bat, but with his defense. He struggled with the routine play and was demoted to Triple-A in mid-May despite a solid (for a utility infielder) .294/.356/.373 batting line, then resurfaced when rosters expanded in September.
With Derek Jeter nursing a left ankle problem and limited to DH duties, Nunez has taken over the shortstop position on a temporary basis. He went 4-for-13 (.308) over the weekend with a double (would have been two, but a shot down the line hit the third base ump and turned it into a single), a homer, and three stolen bases, and manager Joe Girardi has indicated that he’ll likely work Nunez’s bat into the lineup even when Jeter is healthy. He’s a short-term add with position flexibility, so there is some value to be squeezed out of this rock.
Matt Thornton | RP | White Sox | Owned: 23% Yahoo!
The ChiSox are digging themselves out of a recent slump that included a three-game sweep at the hands of the Tigers, and one of the causes of that slump has been the fade of Addison Reed. The rookie closer has allowed 11 runs on 20 total baserunners in his last nine appearances and seven innings, leading to one blown save, one loss, and twice being lifted mid-inning.
On Saturday, Thornton replaced Reed after he loaded the bases with no outs in the ninth inning, escaping the jam with a double play and a ground ball. Manager Robin Ventura hasn’t made any kind of indication that his rookie right-hander is in danger of losing his job, but the division race remains tight (Chicago is two games up) and the leash is likely to be short for the time being. This isn’t a one- or two-time thing, it’s been going on for more than two weeks now. Thornton seems most likely to vulture some saves in the coming weeks since the club figures to prevent Brett Myers from finishing enough games to vest his $10 million option for next year (he’s six short right now).