The Boston Red Sox have reportedly agreed to a deal with infielder Eduardo Nunez, who thrived following a mid-season trade that brought him to town.
Eduardo Nunez is on the verge of staying with the Boston Red Sox.
MLB.com’s Ian Browne reported Thursday afternoon that the Red Sox had gained momentum in negotiations with Nunez, who hit the free agent market after a brief stint in Boston last season. While Browe cautioned that nothing has been finalized yet, a deal appeared imminent.
A mere 20 minutes later we heard from FanRag’s Robert Murray, who reports that the Red Sox have signed Nunez to a one-year deal, pending a physical. The deal is said to include an option for a second year.
Nunez thrived following the trade deadline deal with the San Francisco Giants. He hit .321/.353/.539 with eight home runs and 27 RBI in 38 games with the Red Sox. His home run total doubled what he produced in nearly twice as many plate appearances with the Giants. It’s clear that escaping the cavernous confines of AT&T Park for friendly Fenway agreed with him.
Nunez’ batting average, slugging, and OPS led all Red Sox players with a minimum of 165 at-bats last season. He provided a spark plug to a lineup that struggled to find consistency.
The versatile infielder spent time at second base, shortstop and third during his time with the Red Sox. He also has some outfield experience and could still play there in a pinch.
Nunez will presumably start the season at second base. Dustin Pedroia is recovering from knee surgery and may not be ready by Opening Day. Marco Hernandez, one of the top infield options on Boston’s bench, is coming off shoulder surgery. Adding infield depth was a necessity for a team entering spring training with so many questions marks.
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The 30-year old isn’t exactly the picture of health either. The last we saw of Nunez was when he was helped off the field following an at-bat in the ALDS that saw his knee give out. Nunez opted for rest and rehab over surgery. He’s already started baseball activities but the Red Sox will want to ensure his knee is fine before finalizing the deal.
Financial terms of the deal have yet to be announced and may be kept under wraps until the Red Sox have more clarity on Nunez’ health.
His torrid second half should have earned Nunez a big payday but that hasn’t panned out in a stagnant free agent market. He’s at least deserving of an everyday role. It’s unclear if he’ll have that here once Pedroia is deemed healthy.
Concerns about his knee and the lack of free agent activity may have factored into Nunez’ decision to stay in Boston on a one-year deal. If he stays healthy while hitting the way he did with the Red Sox last year over a full season then he’ll be in a better position to cash in.