On November 7th, 2016, it was announced that the Dodgers traded backup catcher, Carlos Ruiz for Vidal Nuño from the Seattle Mariners. Nuno is a left handed pitcher who has spent parts of his career with the New York Yankees, Arizona Diamondbacks and most recently the Seattle Mariners. However, I wouldn’t expect the San Diego native to jump into the starting rotation with the Dodgers, who are still looking to add to their current starting lineup. However, it doesn’t hurt to add to the set of relievers currently on the roster.
Vidal Nuño enters his first year of arbitration eligibility, while the Mariners will exercise a $4.5M options in Ruiz’s contract and add about $500k in incentives. MLB Trade Rumors contributor Matt Swartz recently projected Nuño’s 2017 salary at about $1.1M. With the addition of Nuño, there are now 10 arbitration eligible players on the Dodgers roster.
What Nuno Brings to the Table
As mentioned above, Nuno will be entering his first year arbitration eligibility. Given this is the first time Nuno enters arbitration with 3 years of service time in Major League Baseball, let’s take a look at Nuño’s short career to see what he brings to the Dodger’s pitching staff.
Over the course of his career, Vidal has seen time as both a starting and relief pitcher, starting a total of 42 of his 216 career games. During the 2016 season, Nuño started only one game for the Mariners and appeared in 55 games as a relief pitcher.
Nuno has a career 4.02 ERA and has allowed a 53 Home Runs with 270 strikeouts in 329.1 career innings. His WHIP sits right with the MLB average at 1.330. Nuno also provides a mix of pitches, leaning on his slider which he threw 40% of the time this past season.
With the mix of pitches including a slider, curveball, change up and a fastball, Nuño is currently seen as a strike throwing pitcher that limits hard ball contact. Over the course of his career, Nuño’s strike percentage shows he isn’t afraid to face batters in the zone. With just about 2/3 of his total career pitches called strikes or swung outside of the zone, batters have made contact 81% of the time. Now, it depends on how you view this stat to determine whether Nuño is actually showing the ball too much to hitters. However, he has limited hard hitting such as fly balls to home runs to just about 10% of all batters he’s faced.
Nuno Fitting In
Ultimately, the key question is where the does Nuño fit in as a reliever that limits hard contact and lives in the strike zone. Well, the Dodgers are currently facing free agency for relievers such as Joe Blanton and J.P. Howell. While there are other relievers under team control, this moves likely proves to be more of a depth move. With Carlos Ruiz helping the Seattle Mariners as a backup now, the Dodgers will look to elevate Austin Barnes to the role of backup catcher to starting catcher Yasmani Grandal. The Dodgers may not stretch Nuño to the starting position, but could utilize him as a swing or long man. For now, we’ll have to wait and see how Nuño plays well enough in the upcoming spring training schedule.