Feb. 8: Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com tweets that the Braves can be counted among the teams that have “serious” interest in Nunez. Atlanta has something of an opening at third base, where Johan Camargo is presently projected to serve as a bridge to prospect Austin Riley.
However, there have also been multiple reports that the Braves aren’t likely to make a big splash at the hot corner; David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution recently characterized any such addition as unlikely, and FanRag’s Jon Heyman reported earlier today that the Braves would primarily be open to a one-year deal with any third base target. Given the fairly robust level of interest in the versatile Nunez, it seems unlikely that he’d command only a one-year pact.
Feb. 6: Veteran infielder Eduardo Nunez has long seemed likely to command fairly broad interest, though his market got underway only recently since he spent the early part of the offseason recovering from a knee injury (though he was able to avoid surgery). It still seems that there’s some room for development in his market, as interest continues to percolate.
According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, via Twitter, the Rays have joined the division-rival Red Sox and Yankees with interest. Tampa Bay, according to Rosenthal, is generally gauging the market for right-handed bats while simultaneously fielding interest in some of its presently more expensive assets, including Jake Odorizzi and Alex Colome. In theory, either or both could be traded for younger, more controllable assets while clearing some salary for a free-agent addition such as Nunez.
Nunez has been tied most closely in recent weeks to Boston (see here and here), and Rosenthal wrote again tonight that the Red Sox have shown interest in re-signing him. But he has also been connected to both New York organizations and a host of other possible destinations given his experience at third base, shortstop, second base and in left field. While Nunez doesn’t thrive at any one position and grades out below average at several, the ability to place him at multiple spots on a short-term basis holds plenty of appeal all the same. He’s also taken his offensive game to a new level in recent seasons, slashing .296/.332/.443 in 1290 plate appearances for the Twins, Giants and Red Sox dating back to the 2015 campaign.
Of course, the Mets are no longer a reasonable possibility; per John Harper of the New York Daily News, the club believed it could’ve signed Nunez for approximately the same price it paid Todd Frazier (two years and $17MM). After some internal debate, though, the club opted for Frazier’s power and glovework at the hot corner over Nunez’s superior batting average and baserunning prowess but weaker contact profile and glovework.