SAN FRANCISCO — Keeping Eduardo Nunez healthy and in the lineup could mean so much for San Francisco’s infield and its chances.
Nunez reached a $4.2 million, one-year agreement with the Giants on Friday to avoid arbitration.
Right-handed reliever George Kontos received a $1.75 million contract and left-hander Will Smith earned $2.5 million as the club announced all of its arbitration-eligible players had reached new deals.
The Giants acquired All-Star infielder Nunez, the projected starting third baseman going into 2017, from Minnesota ahead of the trade deadline. But he was sidelined for the final six games of the regular season and was unable to start in the playoffs against the Cubs because of a strained right hamstring.
Unlikely playoff star Conor Gillaspie agreed to a new deal Wednesday night and could compete with Nunez for playing time.
The 29-year-old Nunez batted .288 with 16 homers and 67 RBIs between the Twins and Giants, hitting .269 with four homers, 20 RBIs, nine doubles and three triples in 50 games for San Francisco. He earned $1,475,000 last season.
Kontos, who earned $1.15 million last season, was part of a bullpen that struggled down the stretch and ultimately cost the Giants in their four-game NL Division Series defeat to the eventual champion Cubs. San Francisco squandered the game and series in the ninth inning of Game 4 when the bullpen failed to hold a 5-2 lead in the ninth inning, with five relievers unable to end it. And the Giants missed out this time in their every-other-year World Series quest after winning titles in 2010, ’12 and ’14.
Acquired from Milwaukee at the trade deadline, Smith went 1-1 with a 2.95 ERA in 26 appearances and 18 1-3 innings for the Giants. He earned $1,475,000 in 2016.