It’s impossible to argue with the fact that Eduardo Nuñez has had a massive impact on the Red Sox since being acquired at the trade deadline. He’s been a big reason they’ve gone on such a strong run since the start of August, and has given them everything they could have imagined. Despite a subpar glove, he’s produced positive value thanks to an aggressive style at the plate that has done nothing but produce results. Additionally, his versatility has allowed him to plug various holes around the lineup and help the team maneuver around injuries and his speed has added yet another element to Boston’s attack. Because of all that, the Red Sox are interested in exploring a new contract for Nuñez to keep him around beyond just this season, according to a report from Jason Mastrodonato.
From Boston’s perspective, this makes a ton of sense. The organization has a ton of utility infield options in a group that includes Brock Holt, Marco Hernandez, Deven Marrero and Tzu-Wei Lin. While that’s a lot of names, all of them are better suited for a secondary bench role rather than being the number one utility option. Nuñez would be a big upgrade over any of them even if he doesn’t really field any position all that well. He’ll cost the team a little bit of money, but it wouldn’t be a massive contract and they shouldn’t be as concerned about the luxury tax with penalties resetting after this season.
On the other hand, I’m not really sure I see Nuñez wanting to come back. This isn’t an indictment on Boston or the organization, and I have no reason to believe he hasn’t enjoyed his time here. However, he’s played well enough this year and over the last few years where he can use this free agency to get a fairly significant contract and a starting role at one position moving forward. His versatility is a weapon, but generally speaking baseball players prefer a known role at one spot on the diamond. The Red Sox can’t offer him an everyday role at one spot — or an everyday role at all — and because of that I can’t see Nuñez coming back. Since I get the sense that he has enjoyed his time with the team, I’d fully expect him to give them every chance to prove they have a role carved out for him. However, at the end of the day he has to do what’s best for him and I don’t see that coming with the Red Sox. Sometimes, good things have to come to an end, unfortunately.