The Red Sox are reported to be “desperately searching” for a third baseman, and it now appears that they have a clear target in mind in Eduardo Nunez of the Giants, according to Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports.
Boston was said to being in on Todd Frazier before he was dealt to the Yankees in a big seven-player deal on Tuesday night that included another Red Sox target in reliever David Robertson. Still, third base appears as though it is the primary area of need for the first place Red Sox.
The club has gotten virtually no offensive production out of the position, as Red Sox third baseman rank 29th in OPS this season. Currently, the everyday third baseman is Deven Marrero, who is a career .208 hitter with a .555 career OPS.
As for Nunez, the 2016 All-Star is having a solid year at the dish with a .297/.322/.409 slash line (.731 OPS) with four homers, 27 RBIs, 19 doubles and 17 steals. He may be a downgrade defensively at the position, but his offense will bring some much needed value to the Red Sox.
Nunez would become the Red Sox primary third baseman, but he also brings versatility with his ability to play second, short, left and right field.
The Red Sox appear to be in the market for rentals at third base with the rise of top prospect Rafael Devers, who was just promoted to Triple-A and is on the cusp on the big leagues. The 20-year-old prospect should force the Red Sox hand in a promotion to the big leagues sooner rather than later. For now, Nunez, who just turned 30 in June, is set to become a free agent at the end of this season.
The Red Sox have also been linked to Giants’ relief pitcher Hunter Strickland, as well as Marlins’ third baseman Martin Prado and reliever David Phelps. There is a chance the Red Sox may be looking for a package deal with a reliever and third baseman, but at this point in time, their primary concern is filling their glaring hole at third base.