MLB Rumors: Yankees, Red Sox, Rays among teams with interest in Eduardo Nunez
Nunez could help a team as infield depth
By now, everyone knows the free-agent market is moving at a glacial pace. No one can agree on the exact cause -- particularly the union and the league itself -- but the market is gummed up to the point where it's newsworthy whenever multiple teams are showing interest in a free agent.
To wit, consider this late-night report from Ken Rosenthal concerning multiple American League East teams' interest in infielder Eduardo Nunez:
Nunez, 31 come June, split last season between the San Francisco Giants and Boston Red Sox. Overall, he slashed .313/.341/.460 while stealing 24 bases and homering 12 times. Unfortunately for Nunez, he missed time late in the year and was limited to one postseason plate appearance due to a knee injury. Still, 2017 marked the third consecutive season he'd posted an OPS+ better than 100 -- quite the achievement, given he hadn't topped the century mark at any point in his first four seasons in which he earned more than 100 plate appearances.
Nunez's game is a throwback. He's all about putting the ball in play and leveraging his above-average wheels, as opposed to working counts and walks. Nunez has become a quality basestealer, having swiped 72 bags over the last three seasons at a 77 percent success rate. He's a versatile defender in the sense that he has experience across the diamond, but he's not going to be a defensive asset no matter where he stands. Overall, he's just good enough to slot in as a second-division starter, though a contender would be lucky to have him off the bench.
With that in mind, it's not too surprising to see the Red Sox and New York Yankees interested. Each, presumably, has Nunez in mind as a short-term starter, be it at second base until Dustin Pedroia returns in Boston, or second or third base in New York until Gleyber Torres and/or Miguel Andujar are ready for the Show. Nunez has played for both teams in the past.
The Tampa Bay Rays' interest is more surprising. Though the Rays have been trying to reduce payroll, their current $79 million figure is about $9 million more than last year's Opening Day amount, per Cot's Contracts. It's worth noting the Rays aren't done trading veterans -- as Rosenthal reports -- and that they have a glut of middle-infield options, including a top prospect of their own in Willy Adames, who probably won't see the light of the Tropicana Field dome until after the Super Two deadline passes
Nonetheless, at least Nunez can count himself as a lucky one -- these days, a free agent who draws genuine interest from multiple teams might as well consider themselves blessed.
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