Toronto Blue Jays off-season target: Eduardo Nunez

TORONTO, ON - AUGUST 28: Eduardo Nunez
TORONTO, ON - AUGUST 28: Eduardo Nunez /

If you watched the Red Sox sweep the Toronto Blue Jays last week, you probably know who Eduardo Nunez is, as he went 5-12 in the series, with a home run and two RBI.

The speedy Dominican utility man is now batting .303 with a .335 on base percentage, since joining Boston in a late July trade and has become an important part of the team’s success. Nunez will become a free agent after this season and with his defensive diversity and top of the order bat, he would seem like a good option for the Toronto Blue Jays.

Here are a few reasons why he would be a fit in Toronto for 2018 and beyond:


The Blue Jays’ middle infield has been extremely unstable the last few seasons. Troy Tulowitzki (out for the season) and Devon Travis (whose latest rehab has been pushed back) have missed a combined 190 games this season and there’s no guarantees they will be healthy and productive in 2018.

Enter Nunez, a natural shortstop, who is currently playing second in Boston for the injured Dustin Pedroia and can adequately play every position other than pitcher and catcher. The 30-year-old would serve as a substantial improvement over Toronto’s current utility players, Darwin Barney and Ryan Goins.

And if in the unlikely scenario that Travis and Tulowitzki are healthy next season, then he could serve as rotating replacement for any position needed. Not a backup in the traditional sense of the word, but a backup plan when needed.


The Blue Jays could have a bit of an identity crisis next season. With Jose Bautista likely gone, the team may finally be ready to move on from the home run or bust mentality of the recent era.

Other than a brief layover by Ben Revere and Dalton Pompey, this team has not had a true base-stealer since Rajai Davis. Nunez provides a high-average, with a boatload of speed. (40 swipes last season, 21 so far this year.)

The 2016 All-Star is currently batting first or second for Boston. Looking at a hypothetical Jays 2018 lineup, Nunez could bat lead in front of Josh Donaldson and Justin Smoak, or he could bat second behind a healthy Travis. Either way he could change the outlook of a fairly one-dimensional offence.

The biggest knock on Nunez leading off, is his low on base percentage. Last season it was an unflattering .325 and this year it’s only slightly better at .335.


More from Toronto Blue Jays

If you look at the Blue Jays’ farm system, the future of the infield appears bright. Top prospects Bo Bichette (short) Vladimir Guerrero Jr (third), and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (currently playing second) are all expected to make the bigs over the next few seasons.

Nunez could be a transition piece from the current infield to the one of the future. And if any of these youngsters stumble, the club will have a suitable in-house option.


Ever since Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion started excelling in Toronto, the Jays have always had a strong Dominican presence. Alongside the big two, the team has seen the likes of Melky CabreraJose Reyes and Francisco Liriano all add to the Dominican flavour.

But with Encarnacion leaving last year, Liriano mid-season, and presumably Bautista after this year – the 2018 Jays may have no Dominicans.

This isn’t to say every MLB club needs a Dominican, but the Jays have a long history with Dominican players, including the country’s first ever AL MVP, George Bell. A Dominican-less Blue Jays would be odd to see.

Blue Jays management certainly has some things to figure out this offseason, including the outfield, backup catcher, and rotation depth. So a utility man may not be high on their “to do” list.

Next: Shohei Otani isn't coming to Toronto

But Nunez could help fill some of the less visible holes, by injecting speed into a lineup with the third lowest stolen base total and offering stability to an injury prone infield. Also, with the uncertainty of Donaldson beyond this season, having a healthy, veteran infielder might be very important for the team after 2017.