Utility infielder Eduardo Nunez is reportedly planning on picking up his 2019 player option to remain with the Boston Red Sox.
Eduardo Nunez is among the Boston Red Sox players who could test free agency this winter but according to the latest reports, the veteran infielder has no intention of leaving.
Fancred’s Jon Heyman reports that Nunez plans to pick up his $5 million player option to remain in Boston for the 2019 season.
Nunez is coming off a bit of a rocky season. He wasn’t the offensive sparkplug we remember from the second half of the 2017 season after the Red Sox acquired him mid-season from the San Francisco Giants.
Nunez hit .265/.289/.388 with 10 home runs and 44 RBI. He also struggled mightily filling in defensively at second base, necessitating the trade for the sure-handed Ian Kinsler.
Lingering knee issues hindered Nunez at the plate and in the field early in the season. He showed improvement in the second half as he got healthier, hitting .282 with a .736 OPS after the break. The Kinsler trade also allowed Nunez to see more time at third base, a position he’s more comfortable with. He formed a solid platoon at the hot corner with Rafael Devers, who has his own struggles in the field and isn’t always trusted to face left-handed pitching.
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His postseason heroics also help Red Sox fans overlook his slow start to the season. Nunuez delivered a clutch three-run homer as a pinch-hitter to help seal a win in Game 1 of the World Series. He also endeared himself to the fanbase with a gutsy Game 3 effort that saw him get knocked down, fall down and dive into the stands. Nunez was pretty beat up in that game but showed a ton of heart by making every effort to make a play.
A healthy Nunez may not have an everyday role but he can still have value to this team. His $5 million salary for next season is a raise from the $4 million he made this year but still a relative bargain. He may not have made more than that in free agency if this year’s market is anywhere near as cool as last winter’s, especially considering his overall numbers were a bit down this season. The Red Sox know better than anyone what he brings to the table and should have no qualms with keeping him at that price.
You can also understand why Nunez would want to stay. Maybe he could have made more money or found a steadier role somewhere else but that doesn’t appear to be his priority. The Red Sox are the World Series champions and staying here gives him the best chance to continue competing for another ring. If we learned anything about Nunez this postseason it’s that he’ll do anything to win. If he’s willing to sacrifice his body, it’s no surprise that he would be willing to sacrifice a chance at a long-term deal to stay with a winning team.