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
Look, I get it. This isn’t the sexy move that we Red Sox fans are all clamoring for them to make.
We want that power bat. We want that guy who’s going to go deep 40 times a season. Believe me when I say, I’m craving that too. There has been a gaping hole of a void in my heart and the Sox lineup ever since the departure of one of the greatest clutch hitters of all time, David Ortiz. And Nunez doesn’t snuggle his way into that hole in a way that would perfectly caress his body. I get you.
BUT this Eduardo Nunez move has made way too much sense for them to not make it. I was actually shocked – just like I’ve been shocked all offseason – that this deal wasn’t made sooner.
We were made aware that Dustin Pedroia probably wouldn’t play until May at the earliest back in late October once news broke that he was having left knee surgery, so why wouldn’t you bring Nunez back?
Nunez was a low key unsung hero to the Red Sox last season. It was mid-July, just days before the trade deadline when the Red Sox pulled the trigger and traded some prospects to San Francisco for him. And at that time the Red Sox had some holes in the infield that they needed to fill whether it was due to injury, a slumping bat or even an overweight panda. Nunez made the move from the west coast to the east and grew into a delightful little surprise when he provided some pop.
He came over to Boston already sporting an average north of .300 and he continued that trend in Fenway Park. It was a time when the lineup was looking for at least a minuscule amount of power to show pitchers that someone could take them out of the ballpark, and Nunez provided that blasting eight home runs over that few month span.
Nunez is so important to the 2018 Red Sox though because of his ability to play anywhere in the infield and once again, because Dustin Pedroia will be missing from the lineup for the earlier parts of the season.
And it isn’t a leadership issue being that the Red Sox do have some veterans manning the infield in Mitch Moreland and potentially Hanley Ramirez. But instead it is strictly a performance issue at second base. Who were you going to play there that you could trust? Sure, Marco Hernandez – who I am very high on – is coming back, but can you trust him after he missed a majority of last season? And if he wasn’t panning out, your plan B CANNOT be Blake Swihart. I’m done hearing the news that he’s been fielding ground balls and that Cora wants to make him a utility man. I get it, there’s no room for him at the major league level, but do we need to force his way up here?
This Eduardo Nunez deal just made too much sense to me for it to not happen. This is going to be a very underrated move that could help win the Red Sox a handful of games when they need a veteran presence late in the ninth to either pinch hit, or help carry his team across the finish line.
-Nick Quaglia (@NickQuag)