Sox reunion with Nunez would be beneficial
Versatile free agent could fill in for injured Pedroia, other infielders
BOSTON -- For all the talk about Boston's prolonged quest to land free agent slugger J.D. Martinez -- which is still ongoing -- there could also be some more subtle transactions made at some point before Opening Day.
And one move that could boost the team in the departments of offense, speed, versatility and depth would be the re-acquisition of Eduardo Nunez, who fit in perfectly with the Red Sox after a July trade last season.
The 30-year-old Nunez is one of the many free agents still looking for work. And with Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia likely to miss the first several weeks of the regular season as he recovers from left knee surgery, Nunez could hold down the fort on an everyday basis in his absence.
MLB Network contributor Ken Rosenthal tweeted on Tuesday that both the Red Sox and Yankees have shown interest in Nunez.
While president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski has said a few times this winter that he's comfortable with some of the internal options to fill in for Pedroia, Nunez would give the team a stabilizing veteran with a proven track record.
The Red Sox do like the potential of Marco Hernandez as someone who can do a little bit of everything, but he only has 109 career at-bats. Brock Holt is also still on the roster, but he's always been best suited as a super-utility player and has struggled at the plate the last two seasons.
Nunez is a right-handed hitter who thrived for the Red Sox in 38 games last season, slashing .321/.353/.539 with eight homers and six stolen bases. In addition, Nunez quickly became a favorite in the clubhouse because of his contagious energy and competitive spirit. He also thrives playing in big markets, which is why the Yankees wouldn't mind getting him back either.
The only hiccup Nunez had with the Red Sox in his brief stint was health related. He sustained a right knee injury on Sept. 6 and quickly aggravated it twice while trying to come back. It was clear the club missed him while he was out.
While the immediate benefit of landing Nunez would be as a stand-in for Pedroia, there is an added benefit every bit as important. Nunez could be an oft-used utility player once Pedroia is healthy.
He could fill in for shortstop Xander Bogaerts when needed and also spell third baseman Rafael Devers against tough left-handers. Nunez could also DH at times, and play left field if the Red Sox were ever in a pinch.
Aside from being a valuable player, Nunez would offer the Red Sox injury protection at multiple positions.