The Red Sox have made another move, though it’s still not the one most of us have been expecting and waiting for all winter long. In a move similar to Mitch Moreland, they are bringing back another familiar face from the 2017 team. According to Robert Murray of Fanrag sports, Boston has brought back Eduardo Nuñez on a one-year deal that includes an option for a second year.
Source: #RedSox signing INF Eduardo Nunez, pending physical. One-year deal with an option for a second year.— Robert Murray (@RobertMurrayFRS) February 15, 2018
Although Murray is reporting the deal as done, it seems that the two sides have an agreement in place but the deal is still pending a physical.
The Red Sox have an agreement to sign Eduardo Nunez pending physical, but given his ailments of last year, that’s not a slam dunk— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) February 15, 2018
Generally, this is simply housekeeping and not an important part of the process, but Nuñez is a special case. As I’m sure you will recall, the infielder suffered a knee injury at the end of last season and we haven’t seen him play since. The Red Sox have scouted him in the winter, so hopefully there will be official word of a deal soon enough.
While Nuñez certainly hasn’t gotten nearly the buzz that has been given to J.D. Martinez this winter, we have heard whispers for a while about this possibility. On the surface, it makes sense as this is a Red Sox team that will have an immediate hole at second base to start the season with Dustin Pedroia recovering from knee surgery. The plan is for Pedroia to be back within the first month or so of the season, but as I’ve pointed out so often this winter these things have a tendency to deviate from the plans. Having Nuñez around is a better option if Pedroia has to miss even more significant time than someone like Marco Hernandez, Deven Marrero or Brock Holt. In the event Pedroia does come back on time, Nuñez would serve as a utility option on the infield. He’d be able to cover injuries at any infield position, and if Rafael Devers hits a sophomore slump Nuñez could at least serve as a platoon option there.
Of course, that is not to say that Nuñez is a player without faults. While he can cover all of these infield positions, he’s not exactly going to win any Gold Gloves at any position. The 30-year-old rates poorly at every position and doesn’t quite pass the eye test either.
We’ll have much more analysis on Nuñez as a player and what to expect as ripple effects from this move in the coming days, but now let’s all be excited that the Red Sox did a thing and that Nuñez was a legitimate spark plug for last year’s team. As of this writing, it’s not clear how the Red Sox are going to make room on the 40-man roster for their new signing or the details of the second-year option, but we’ll update when we get that news. My guess, for whatever it may be worth, is that either Deven Marrero or Williams Jerez will be designated for assignment. We’ll be waiting with bated breath for this thing to actually happen.
Update: The second-year option is apparently a player option, according to NBC Boston’s Evan Drellich.
Source says Eduardo Nunez’s option for 2019 is likely to be a player option, on presumption a physical is passed and deal finalized.— Evan Drellich (@EvanDrellich) February 16, 2018