The rumors have been confirmed: Eduardo Nunez will indeed return to the Boston Red Sox for the 2018 season.
It was reported on Thursday that the Boston Red Sox and versatile infielder Eduardo Nunez had agreed to a one-year deal worth with an option for a second, according to Robert Murray of FanRag Sports. But the deal was completed Sunday morning when Nunez officially passed his physical, .
The 30-year-old infielder was traded to the Red Sox midseason last year, slashing .321/.353/.539 with eight home runs in 38 games. Adding Nunez gives Boston some insurance as the team waits for second baseman Dustin Pedroia to recover from his October knee surgery. Nunez does have a bit of an injury history as well, most recently having to leave Game 1 of the ALCS with a sprained PCL.
It was thought around the league that Nunez was looking for a chance to play every day, which isn’t necessarily a guarantee for him with the Red Sox. However, Pedroia isn’t expected back for the start of the season, and even after he returns if Nunez could see time at DH.
With the addition of Nunez, it could mean a player like Brock Holt or Tzu-Wei Lin could be pushed to the bench or even back to minors. But with Nunez being able to play all over the infield, despite being regarded as a so-so defender, along with his plus bat, this move makes a lot of sense for Boston.
Of course, the team is still looking like the frontrunners to sign free agent outfielder/designated hitter J.D. Martinez, reportedly offering him somewhere around $18-20 million per year over five years:
Of course, the Padres giving first baseman Eric Hosmer, who doesn’t even come close to Martinez in terms of power, the largest deal in franchise history might cost the Red Sox some extra cash if they do continue to pursue the slugging Martinez.
However, Red Sox GM Dave Dombrowski did make comments earlier in free agency suggesting the team feels fine with keeping Hanley Ramirez at the DH spot for 2018.
But for now, it’s Nunez coming back to Boston, and if he can provide the offensive production he gave the Red Sox in 38 games last year over the course of an entire season, the team would take it in a heartbeat.