According to MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez, the Atlanta Braves are among the teams that have expressed serious interest in free agent infielder Eduardo Nunez. Other teams rumored to be in the mix as spring training approaches are the Red Sox, Yankees and Rays.
Atlanta has been sniffing around potential free agents to fill the void at third base this offseason, including Todd Frazier, who recently inked a two-year deal with the New York Mets. The Braves currently have Rio Ruiz and Johan Camargo as internal options to take over at third, but that hasn’t stopped new GM Alex Anthopoulos from at least doing his homework on the open market.
Nunez, 30, has mainly been a fringe player for his career until the past couple of years. He was selected as an All-Star in 2016 and played well last year as well.
In 2017, he performed well for the San Francisco Giants before being dealt to the Boston Red Sox. Nunez finished the season on a tear in Boston, adding to his appeal on the open market. The free agent market has been really slow developing this year. Many free agents are still waiting on deals.
While the Braves certainly have interest, they will have fierce competition to sign Nunez. Teams such as the Yankees and Red Sox have more cash to offer and potential playoff games available.
It is likely the Braves are only willing to do a one-year deal, maybe two, but several reports have come out this spring about the team being high on top third base prospect Austin Riley, though he is likely still a year or two away from contributing at the major league level.
Nunez last year slashed .313/.341/460 with 12 home runs and 58 RBI. He also swiped 24 bags. If Nunez were able to produce those numbers in Atlanta, he would be a welcome addition to the lineup. It all comes down to potential cost for the Braves.
As it currently stands, Atlanta is comfortable with having Johan Camargo be the primary third baseman after his surprise rookie campaign. With such a small sample size, the Braves will be taking a gamble standing pat. The team does value Camargo’s versatility, especially on defense, something that may give him the edge over Nunez.