FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Red Sox on Thursday came to terms with free agent infielder Eduardo Nunez on a one-year contract, according to two major league sources. But it may not be that simple.
As with all contracts, the deal is contingent on the player passing a physical, and that won’t be routine. Nunez ended last season with a sprained right knee after collapsing in Game 1 of the Division Series against Houston and being carried off the field.
Nunez initially injured his knee on Sept. 9 and did not return until Sept. 25. In that game, Nunez fell in the batter’s box after grounding to third base.
Doctors advised Nunez to pursue a course of rest and rehabilitation, but it wasn’t until January that he was able to start baseball activities. The Sox had a scout evaluate Nunez in the Dominican Republic later that month.
Nunez, 30, hit .321 with an .892 OPS in 38 games for the Sox after being obtained from the San Francisco Giants on July 26.
He started 25 games at second base for an injured Dustin Pedroia and that is how the Sox see Nunez being used again. Pedroia had knee surgery in October and is not expected back until late May or early June.
Once Pedroia returns, Nunez would give the Sox an experienced utility player. He has hit .296 with a .774 OPS over the last three seasons.
Signing Nunez would not preclude the Red Sox from pursuing free agent slugger J.D. Martinez, a source said. The team has the payroll flexibility to fit both players without going over $237 million and triggering MLB’s top level of luxury tax penalties.