Eduardo Nunez is not returning to the San Francisco Giants for a second tour of duty. Instead, he will rejoin the Box Red Sox on a one-year contract. Despite this news, Nunez is probably a better fit for the Red Sox, rather than the Giants, anyway.
The contract will include an option for a second season. This appears to be a player option, so Nunez could be back on the market next season if he performs well. However, financial details are not yet known.
Shortly after the trade to the Red Sox became official, Nunez left the door open for returning to the Giants. Nunez is a likable and fun player to watch. However, the idea of a reunion appeared to be a longshot from the start.
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Nunez offers versatility. He can play third base, second base, shortstop, and left field. However, he is not a reliable, everyday option at any of these positions. The Giants had plenty of holes to fill, and bringing back Nunez would be like trying to fit a square block through a circular hole.
Nunez batted .293 with 31 stolen bases in the Giants uniform. There is not much patience to his approach or power in his bat. His offensive value rests primarily on his batting average. That is not the type of player that teams can rely on as a long-term piece.
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In addition to this, Nunez struggles to stay on the field. His all-out approach is reminiscent of a guy like Hunter Pence. However, it also costs him in terms of durability as he has missed most of the playoffs in consecutive seasons. He is coming off a bad knee injury so there is risk inherent in signing him.
He is going to be a much better fit for the Red Sox. With Dustin Pedroia out for an extended period of time, Nunez will get consistent playing time at second base to start the season. When Pedoria returns, Nunez will likely slot into a backup role, and provide insurance in the case of an injury.
As is sometimes the case, right-handed utility infielders have a difficult time getting consistent playing time. So, if the fit does not appear right upon Pedoria’s return, Nunez could find himself on the trading block. Given Pedoria’s injury history, this is not likely, but it remains a possibility.
For the time being, he will be a spark plug at the top of the Red Sox lineup. Nunez is probably looking at Martin Prado‘s recent contract of 3 years and $40 million, and thinking why he did not get something close to that. This weird free agent market continues, but he seems to be a be a better fit with the Red Sox for now.