Eduardo Nunez can be a high-reward hitter and baserunner, but also a high-risk fielder

Eduardo Nunez brings both hustle and offensive muscle to the Red Sox. AP Photo/NIck Wass

When you trade for Eduardo Nunez, you know what you’re going to get. Nunez’s history is that of a high-impact bat with significant flaws everywhere in the field.

But the Boston Red Sox decided the weaknesses were worth the strengths, reportedly making the deal to pick him up on Tuesday night.

They did this for good reason. Red Sox third basemen rank either last or next to last in the majors in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage over the past two seasons.

Nunez finished his San Francisco Giants career with a bang, going 9-for-16 in his final four games (.563). He’s hitting .358 since June 1, which at the time the trade was first reported ranked second in the National League.

Nunez also brings an element of speed. He had 40 stolen bases with the Twins and Giants last season and has 18 in 23 attempts in 2017. The 18 steals were one more than anyone on the Red Sox had at the time of the trade (Mookie Betts had 17).

The fear factor with Nunez is that putting him in the field is a risky endeavor. He’s played five positions in his career (second base, third base, shortstop, left field, right field). He has a negative defensive-runs-saved total at all five positions. He’s at minus-8 runs saved in about 1,800 career innings at third base (his issues are largely shortstop-based).

The similarities between last year’s and this year’s trade involving Nunez aren’t confined to the same player moving teams. Last year’s trade -- when the Giants acquired Nunez -- happened because of Pablo Sandoval’s decision after the 2014 season to leave the Giants for the Red Sox. Had he not chosen to leave, the Giants would not have been in need of someone to play third base at the deadline last season. This year’s trade -- when the Red Sox acquired Nunez -- happened because of that decision, too. If not for Sandoval’s signing with the Red Sox, and subsequent failures, which left the Red Sox without a third baseman (after they traded Travis Shaw this past offseason), Nunez would never have been acquired.