Boston Red Sox: Why Eduardo Nunez re-signing is huge for Sox

BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 05: Eduardo Nunez
BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 05: Eduardo Nunez /

The Boston Red Sox have agreed to sign infielder Eduardo Nunez to a 1-year/$4 million contract with an option for 2019, pending a physical.

Yesterday, the Boston Red Sox made their second free agent signing since the end of the 2017 season. According to multiple reports, infielder Eduardo Nunez will be returning to Fenway Park for the 2018 season.

For all intents and purposes, let’s assume Nunez passes his physical and does indeed rejoin the Red Sox. This is a great signing for the club, who is in desperate need of some quality infield depth.

The Red Sox are no strangers to Nunez’ abilities, as they were the team with which he posted the best statistical season of his 8 year career. During his 38 games in Boston, Nunez posted career highs in batting average (.321), on base percentage (.353), and slugging percentage (.539).

The small sample size shouldn’t be labeled as an anomaly, though, because in his other 76 games last season (with the San Francisco Giants) he posted similar numbers (.308/.334/.417).

Nunez has been on an upward trajectory throughout his entire career. If he’s healthy he could become a serious contributor to the 2018 Boston Red Sox. But where does he fit in on this team?

First and foremost, Nunez is a reliable, proven infielder who can fill in for Dustin Pedroia while he recovers from knee surgery. Pedey will miss at least the first two months of the season, so the Red Sox need someone of Nunez’ caliber to temporarily fill the shoes of the four-time All-Star.

Second, Nunez is very versatile. In addition to taking Pedroia’s place at second, Nunez can play shortstop or third base should Xander Bogaerts or Rafael Devers (respectively), need days off. Offensively, he’ll contribute speed and above average contact ability. He can hit anywhere in the lineup and is a tough out.

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So now that we’ve established that Nunez is a strong physical addition to the lineup, what about his monetary value? $4 million is a reasonable valuation for the utility man (he made $4.2 million in 2017), but is he the straw that breaks the camel’s back?

With Nunez’ $4 million, the Red Sox payroll currently sits around $217 million. If they reach $237 million, they’ll suffer some harsh luxury tax penalties.

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This means that they’ll need to clear some cap space if they want to sign J.D. Martinez for $20 million per year.

To do this, they might part ways with players like Brock Holt or Deven Marrero. While that may hurt the Brockstar fans out there, it would be worth it. Otherwise, the Boston  Red Sox front office will have to find some wiggle room in order to sign Martinez without facing the salary-based consequences.

All in all, this is a good and reasonable signing for the Red Sox. They needed a fill in for Pedroia, and Nunez is just the man for the job. Seeing him don a Red Sox uniform again will be a welcomed sight. It will be an even more welcomed sight if he performs like he did last year.

There’s only 41 more days until Opening Day, folks. After that, it’s full steam ahead toward our third consecutive division title.

Next: Boston Red Sox: Mookie Betts focused on 2018, not long-term deal

I hope you’re ready, because I certainly am. Go Sox!