Going into 2019 the Red Sox have two very strong candidates for third base. With Rafael Devers and Eduardo Nunez both having moments of promise in 2018, who will grab the brass ring next season?
With next season right on the horizon, the Red Sox and Alex Cora will face a decision on who will be playing third base. Both Eduardo Nunez and Rafael Devers showed glimpses of promise during the Red Sox World Series campaign. Each had their moments throughout the year and both staked their claim to the job during the postseason.
During the season Nunez would get the lion’s share of the time at third base. But when Devers was given the chance, he more often than not took the opportunity. Both had their moments to shine when the lights were the brightest. Nunez and Devers would each flash the leather on the field and swing for the fences at the plate.
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So now we go into 2019 with two players that could be the everyday third baseman for Boston. So what does AC do? There’s the experience with Nunez but the youth with Devers. Both have their pros and cons, it really is a tough decision. I surely don’t envy Cora one single bit.
If I were in the Manager’s chair though I would go with Devers at third. I want Nunez freed up to cover second if Dustin Pedroia goes down. But I would also rotate Nunie in at third to keep him fresh if something were to happen to Devers. Essentially I would make Nunez a super sub much like Brock Holt.
If Cora can utilize Nunez as a more versatile player that’ll only add to the threat Boston poses in 2019. For me, the nine-year age gap between Nunez and Devers is the big deciding factor here. With Devers only being 22, having him play every day could make him another staple in that power core that made Boston so strong in 2018.
Looking long-term Devers is the safe bet as well. The more experience he can get now the better he’ll be for the Red Sox as time goes on. He won’t be a free agent until 2024. That gives Cora another six years to groom Devers into a star player. Thinking big picture, this seems like a no-brainer.
Nunez won’t be a free agent until 2020 but again by then he’ll be 33, so not old by any means but that’ll be ten years in the majors. That’s a lot of wear and tear on the body, especially the way Nunez plays.
With next season just a few short months away, the battle for third will soon begin. Spring Training will be a huge insight into what Alex Cora and the Red Soz think if their two players. There are advantages to going with either player when game time comes. I’m sure you’ll be like me and tuning in each night to check the lineups.