Free agency officially begins Monday at 5:00 PM. One of the big names on the infield market is Eduardo Nunez and the Milwaukee Brewers should be very interested in his services.
Nunez was traded mid-season by the San Francisco Giants to the Boston Red Sox to solve their lack of production at third base. They probably were missing Travis Shaw very much at that point. He served as a nice placeholder until Rafael Devers arrived and now is out of a position in Boston.
He was used mostly at third base in San Francisco. But he can also play anywhere in the infield and he even plays outfield for that matter. The Milwaukee Brewers could use a second baseman. Even though Nunez doesn’t grade out as a particularly great defender, his bat does most of the talking. Also, MLBTR theorizes that he rates as a sub-par defender because he’s never been allowed to settle into a position.
In just about 500 plate appearances for both the Giants and Red Sox, Nunez hit .313/.341/.460 with 12 homers and 24 stolen bases. Over his past 1,290 plate appearances, Nunez slashed .296/.332/.443. As a super-utility player similar to what Hernan Perez is right now, that’s a great line.
Nunez is 30 years old. But he has been fairly injury prone over the past couple of seasons, including an injury in the ALDS against the Astros. He aggravated a knee injury but he will be 100% when Spring Training starts. Nevertheless, the injury issues are concerning and they could diminish his earning power in free agency.
MLBTR projects a two year, $14 million contract for Nunez and he could possibly find a three year deal somewhere. Seven million a season for a player that can hit .300 and play all over the field is a pretty good contract. The Milwaukee Brewers love multi-positional players and versatility is Nunez’s middle name.
Nunez can settle in to second base on a regular basis. While Hernan Perez fills in when needed elsewhere around the diamond. Having two super-utility players on the roster in Perez and Nunez would be a dream come true for Craig Counsell and David Stearns. With suitable backups at nearly every position covered with those two players, that frees up Counsell to have an extra pitcher in the bullpen.
There could be some decent competition for Nunez’s services. MLBTR predicts the Blue Jays to sign him, but the Milwaukee Brewers will not be far behind. Nunez was an All-Star in 2016 as a member of the Minnesota Twins.
Of the free agent second basemen in this year’s class, Nunez is really the only option that fits what the Brewers are looking for. He’s relatively inexpensive, hits for a good average, and can play multiple positions.
At 30 years old, he’s still quite young. Nunez would not get more than three years on any deal he signs. Perhaps two guaranteed years and a team option on the third year could be enough to entice Nunez to pack his bags for Milwaukee.
After going from Minnesota to San Francisco to Boston two trade deadlines in a row, Nunez will likely value the chance to stay with a team for the entirety of the season. He can get that with the Milwaukee Brewers.
Health is most important when it comes to Nunez. If he can stay healthy, he will be an extremely productive player that can play all over the field. Nunez may not be the flashiest of free agent signings, but it could an effective one. A move that pushes the Brewers over the top. Charlie Morton wasn’t a flashy signing for the Astros. But his importance to that team in their World Series run cannot be overstated.
Eduardo Nunez will be one of the most sought after second baseman this winter. Luckily the second base market isn’t very large. The Milwaukee Brewers will have a chance to sign Nunez to a deal.
As the MLB off-season is just beginning, we will learn more about Nunez and other free agents’ desires on contracts and possible destinations. The Milwaukee Brewers are setting up for what will likely be a very busy off-season.