I don’t really have a lot to say on this subject, and this is going to be a kind of stream-of-conscious post. I’ve spent most of my time since the Eduardo Nunez trade went down defending the move. They didn’t give up any prospects of major value (unless you are OOLF, who is the biggest Shaun Anderson fan on Earth), and they got back a player who is much better than what they’ve been playing at third base for most of the year and is better than what they have on their bench. This upgrades the roster, without a doubt.
There is only one way I could see this move being a mistake, and that would be by optioning Rafael Devers after Wednesday’s game in Seattle. When the trade first went down, a few people asked me if that was the plan. I responded something along the lines of “no way. That’d be nuts.” Welp. After Tuesday’s/Wednesday’s — depending on your time zone — marathon game, Dave Dombrowski hinted that this could be a possibility.
Asked Dombrowski where Devers’ spot stands with Nunez coming in. Said they need to discuss it. So apparently it’s possible he goes back.— Pete Abraham (@PeteAbe) July 26, 2017
To be fair, nothing in Abraham’s tweet suggests it’s inevitable or even the most likely scenario. Still, the fact that it’s even on the table is crazy. Devers, of course, was just called up a couple of days ago. There are players who you call up for a few days then send back down without thinking twice about it. Devers is not one of those Quad-A players. He is the organization’s top young asset, and he showed himself to be capable of playing at the major-league level in his first game. To take that away because of Nunez would be bananas. In fact, the only rationale I could see for that decision would be if they were promoting Devers as a way to regain some leverage in trade negotiations. If that was indeed the plan — and, to be clear, this is speculation on my part — that’s an atrocious plan. You simply don’t use one of the best prospects in all of baseball for leverage, and you certainly don’t do it for leverage for a player like Nunez. Boston’s newest infielder is a fine player, but he’s not nearly impactful enough for such a bold strategy.
There are ways to make it work with both Nunez and Devers on the roster, but it would involve some creativity from John Farrell. Fortunately, he’s capable of making these kind of situations work. In an ideal world, Nunez will fill the super sub role that Brock Holt has filled over the last few years. He should be playing every day at third base when a left-handed starter is on the mound, and when a righty is pitching he can fill in at shortstop, corner outfield and designated hitter. Players will need days off, and Nunez can provide that. On days he doesn’t start, he’s a tremendous asset when you need someone at the plate to put the ball in play or someone on the basepaths to take extra bases. Don’t mess this up, Red Sox. Devers and Nunez both need to be on the roster.