Eduardo Nunez was designated for assignment by the Red Sox to make room on the 40 man roster. Let’s take a look back at his time in Boston.
Red Sox fans have mentioned it and it finally has happened, the Eduardo Nunez era is over in Boston. The underperforming veteran utility player found himself part of a roster crunch and was designated for assignment on Monday. Eduardo Nunez has had his special moments in Boston, but has largely underperformed. Even still, the Red Sox will miss his light hearted nature, even if he was not the best at baseball.
Beginnings of Eduardo Nunez
The Red Sox acquired Nunez during the 2017 season from the San Francisco Giants for Shaun Anderson and Gregory Santos – both minor league pitchers. Nunez turned out to be a spark for the Red Sox in his 38 games that year. He hit .321/.353/.892 with 8 home runs and a 109 OPS+ for the Red Sox after being acquired. He injured his knee and it cost him playing time and ultimately was injured in his first at bat during the ALDS against the Houston Astros. Nunez never really returned to form after this, and the struggles started in 2018.
The Larger Sample
During the Red Sox magical season of 2018, Eduardo Nunez was relied on heavily in place of Dustin Pedroia. He logged 74 games at second base and posted a -6 defensive runs saved. His time at third base was a little worse at -13. The bat was underwhelming and he hit .265/.289/.388 and an OPS+ of 80. Nunez’s bWAR was an underwhelming -1.1, largely due to his defensive ineptitude.
The Eduardo Nunez plunge did not stop there however, and 2019 continued that downhill trend. There was reason to believe that he would bounce back, but it just did not happen. This year in his 60 games, he has amassed a worse bWAR than last year at a -1.4. His defense has been a bit better, but his offense has completely fallen off the table. Nunez is hitting .228/.243/.305 and an OPS+ of 42. His 36 wRC+ ranks second to last in all of MLB among hitters who have at least 170 plate appearances. It is time for the Red Sox to move on, as baseball has not come easy to Eduardo Nunez.
Let’s not get this twisted and say Eduardo Nunez was an entire waste of time. That is why this is a conflicting move. From a baseball perspective, yes, he deserves to be cut. However, Eduardo Nunez had some shining moments for the Red Sox in his tenure here, and he will definitely be remembered for the humor he brought to the baseball diamond.
His most notable performance came during the World Series in the 18 inning loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Chris Sale was ready to play left field if need be, and Eduardo Nunez stopped that from happening. He was basically a human crash test dummy, crashing into a fence, colliding with a catcher and tripping over the mound while trying to catch a pop up.
He did more than just that for the Red Sox during that playoff run, however. Nunez hit a three run home run as a pinch hitter to seal the first game of the World Series for the Red Sox. He also sealed the deal for the Red Sox in the ALDS by fielding a slow roller at third base and throwing out Didi Gregorious to end the series and save a shaky Craig Kimbrel.
Eduardo Nunez also owns a funny moment during a June game in 2018 when he was hit by a pitch during the 12th inning against the Baltimore Orioles. He was hit in the stomach and crumpled to the ground, prompting a visit from the trainers and Alex Cora. Cora started laughing at Nunez because he kept asking if he was going to die. Turns out, Nunez did not go to the great beyond, but finished the game. The story offers the kind of lighthearted moment that Nunez is known for during his time with the Red Sox.
The Conclusion for the Eduardo Nunez era
Eduardo Nunez was never a star on this team, and never really recaptured his 2017 self. The statistics do not lie, and he was not that great at baseball with this team. However, he was an awesome teammate, and refused to quit. Eduardo Nunez should hold a special place in the hearts of Boston Red Sox fans, even if his statistics never were great. The Eduardo Nunez era in Boston might be over, but he should still find another team to play for.