Posted on July 26, 2017, by Bryan Zarpentine
The Boston Red Sox have a contingency plan to their situation at third base. Just a few days after calling up top prospect Rafael Devers to play the hot corner, the Red Sox have acquired infielder Eduardo Nunez in a trade with the Giants. Boston has sent minor league pitchers Shaun Anderson and Gregory Santos to the Giants to acquire Nunez, a versatile and speedy infielder.
“He’ll play a lot for us,” said Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski after Tuesday night’s trade. “He’s a very good offensive player. He can play a lot of different positions. He’s been swinging the bat very well. He can run. He’s versatile for us. Gives us another bat that we feel can help give us some offense, which we do need at this time.”
On the surface, Nunez can be seen as Plan B for the Red Sox at third base in case Devers struggles. The 20-year old went hitless with two walks during his big league debut on Tuesday. Devers has had a productive year in the minors. However, he played just nine games in triple-A before getting called up to the big leagues, so there’s some concern about how prepared he is to produce in the majors.
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The plan appears for Devers to platoon with Deven Marrero at third base, with the youngster starting against right-handed pitchers. But Nunez could supplant Marrero as Devers’ platoon partner. If Devers were to struggle, Nunez could take over full time. While Nunez is a versatile infielder, he’s started 119 games at third base over the past two seasons. The hot corner has become the primary position for the long time shortstop.
“We’ll work (Nunez) in, but I think it’s important for us to talk to him first and kind of outline what our plan is,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “Obviously a right-handed bat, a proven guy, hitting for a high average.”
Nunez could also provide depth elsewhere on the infield. He’s a better option than both Marrero and Brock Holt at shortstop and second base, and possibly first base as well. The Red Sox have lacked infield depth all season, so Nunez can serve as more than just a backup plan for Devers at third base.
Despite the trade being completed Tuesday night, Nunez is not expected to join his new team until Friday. The Red Sox preferred he got settled in Boston rather than rush to join them for an afternoon game in Seattle on Wednesday. Nevertheless, Nunez appears to be excited about the move and the chance to join a pennant race.
“It’s exciting,” Nunez said late Tuesday. “You’re going to go [play] for a championship. That’s why we’re here. That’s the focus right now.”
As for the Giants, they add a couple intriguing pitchers to a fairly barren farm system. Anderson was rated as Boston’s 18th best prospect, according to MLB.com. He was a 3rd round pick last year and is having a solid season in A-ball. Santos, meanwhile, is just 17, but he’s having a dominant season in the Dominican Summer League.
Ultimately, this is a minor trade, but one the Red Sox had to make. Boston needed a backup plan at third base just in case Devers isn’t ready. Nunez is a perfect candidate for that spot, as well as a suitable backup throughout the rest of the infield. Adding Nunez may not move the meter much, but it’s an acquisition that could pay off down the line.