The Boston Red Sox complete their first deal of the trade season, acquiring third baseman Eduardo Nunez from the San Francisco Giants. Minor league right-handed pitchers Shaun Anderson and Gregory Santos were sent to San Francisco.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) July 26, 2017
Boston will pay the remainder of Nunez’s salary for 2017, roughly $1.5 million.
Boston Red Sox Acquire Eduardo Nunez from San Francisco Giants
The Situation at Third Base
All season, Boston has endured a never-ending struggle to find quality production at third base. Whether it be from consistent injuries, losing a major trade to a division foe or finally realizing the end of a bad deal, the Red Sox have never had a reliable option at the hot corner.
A major part of the front office’s discussion for the Trade Deadline was eliminating the doubt at third base and solving this problem.
The Red Sox started by promoting 20-year old prospect Rafael Devers to Boston. Devers is one of the best prospects in baseball and has destroyed minor league pitching in 2017. His ability to drive the ball to all fields has produced a .311/.377/.578 clip with 20 home runs through two levels this season. With that said—on the night of Devers’s debut with Boston—the front office decided to acquire the versatile Nunez and help further the third base solution.
How Nunez Fits into Boston’s Plans for 2017
The keyword to this deal for Boston is flexibility. Nunez gives the Red Sox an all-around veteran that provides depth at multiple positions. He also is a solid offensive addition, hitting .307 in 75 games with twenty doubles while swiping seventeen bags. Nunez should provide a vast improvement over the .226 batting average and .595 OPS Boston third basemen have produced this season.
It also gives the front office flexibility to stay under the dreaded luxury-tax threshold. Nunez’s possible three-month rental was cheap enough to still provide breathing room for Boston to acquire pieces deemed necessary for a deep playoff run.
The Decision with Devers
The versatility of Nunez should allow Boston to utilize both he and Devers for the remainder of the season. If Devers is able to produce at the major league level, Nunez provides a lift off the bench and a quality defender when needed for Boston. If he needs more time, Nunez slides in nicely as the regular third baseman.
Yet, no one truly knows what the Red Sox are planning to do with the Devers-Nunez combination. They could platoon the players for the remainder of the season. They could even decide to give Devers more at-bats in Triple-A Pawtucket. Whatever the plan may be, this problem doesn’t look to be an unhealthy one for the contending Boston Red Sox.