Eduardo Nunez is an experienced major league player who has plenty to prove before he gets to see any action with the New York Mets this season.
One of the veterans the New York Mets brought in this winter, Eduardo Nunez, is a familiar name across baseball. He spent two years or more with four different teams and is one of those guys on the long list of players who suited up for the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees.
Somewhere in the middle of his baseball journey, Nunez broke out and had an All-Star campaign in 2016.
As any Mets fan knows, the 2016 season is a long way in the past. In the years since Nunez’s peak, he has battled a multitude of injuries. When he finally did get healthy, his production wasn’t quite the same.
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Nunez played in 127 games for the 2018 Red Sox and delivered a .265/.289/.388 batting line. He played a lot of second base, some third base, and got a handful of starts as the DH.
Nunez won’t have the same opportunities with his current organization. Signed to a minor league deal, Nunez has a long way to go before stepping foot on the Citi Field grass.
There are two factors going against Nunez in his quest to make it onto a Major League Baseball field. One of them is the choices the Mets have if someone suffers an injury.
At this point in his career, Nunez is unlikely to see any time at shortstop. It’s the position he played the second-most in his career after third base. However, he hasn’t been there regularly since 2016. When he was at shortstop, he wasn’t very defensively sound either.
This is the second major knock against Nunez’s game: his defense. Regardless of where he has played, the man has accumulated negative numbers. Even though this makes him sound like a guy who would fit right in with the Mets, I’m not so sure this is what the team should look for on their bench.
My tune does change if an injury means Nunez will start regularly. For instance, if Robinson Cano lands on the IL and it doesn’t look like J.D. Davis can cover third base well enough to allow Jeff McNeil to make the move to second base, maybe it is worth giving Nunez a look in the everyday lineup. This only happens, though, if Nunez is raking in Triple-A.
Nunez’s future with the Mets this season may rely heavily on how Luis Guillorme performs. If the slick-fielding infielder can continue to improve at the plate, he’s the most obvious candidate to see more playing time if an infielder goes down.
This wouldn’t necessarily stop Nunez from a promotion. He could simply become a bench piece and a bat the Mets could turn to for pinch-hitting opportunities.
When it comes to a bench in Major League Baseball, I like to see guys who can do at least one thing well. Guys on non-MLB contracts like Matt Adams and Jarrett Parker can hit for power. Max Moroff can play a variety of positions and do it well—or so it would seem.
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Nunez’s best attribute is hitting for a high batting average. He is two years removed from doing it. So until he actually does make Triple-A pitchers question their career choice, he’s a long way from Flushing.