Eduardo Nunez DFA'd by Red Sox while Shaun Anderson thrives for Giants


Eduardo Nunez DFA'd by Red Sox while Shaun Anderson thrives for Giants

On July 26, 2017, the San Francisco Giants traded reliable infielder Eduardo Nunez to the Boston Red Sox for two low-level minor league pitchers.

It was a rental trade at the time with Nunez headed into free agency. He eventually re-signed on a two-year, $9 million contract and helped Boston win the 2018 World Series.

But nearly two years later, Nunez's time with the Red Sox is up. On Monday, the 32-year-old was designated for assignment.

Meanwhile, the Giants are quite pleased with the two pitchers they got in return.

The main piece of that trade, Shaun Anderson, has reached the major league level and has a 4.48 ERA in 60 1/3 innings for the Giants. At 24 years old, he's shown flashes of brilliance and looks like a part of San Francisco's rotation for years to come.

The other player in the trade, right-handed pitcher Gregory Santos, was just 17 years old at the time of the trade and was playing in the Dominican Summer League.

Now, Santos is finding success stateside. In 34 2/3 innings for Class A Augusta, Santos has a 2.86 ERA. MLB Pipeline has the 19-year-old ranked as the Giants' No. 7 overall prospect.

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The Giants liked Nunez's versatility, but they made the smart move to trade him for prospects. Two years after that trade, they are reaping the benefits and are the clear winners in that rental deal.

The Nunez trade should serve as a roadmap for the Giants as the 2019 trade deadline approaches. They still can get valuable pieces for players that are seen as rentals. It might take a few years for the major league team to see the benefits of trades made over the next two weeks, but the Giants are playing the long game. They can afford to take on lower-level prospects and let them develop.

Johnny Cueto dazzles again for Giants, stymies Marlins despite limits

Johnny Cueto dazzles again for Giants, stymies Marlins despite limits

SAN FRANCISCO -- If you're at all surprised by Johnny Cueto's first two starts back from Tommy John surgery, you probably shouldn't be. 

After all, this is a pitcher who had a 0.84 ERA through the end of April last season when he felt constant pain in his elbow and knew that surgery could be in his near future. Cueto found a way to fool hitters back then, and the Giants were always optimistic that he would find his form once he returned. Even by that standard, though, the first two starts have been impressive. 

Cueto threw five more shutout innings Sunday, giving him 10 scoreless frames in his return. He has allowed just four hits, walked three and struck out six. He would have picked up a second win Sunday, but the bullpen temporarily coughed up the lead. The Giants would go on to beat the Marlins 2-1 when Mike Yastrzemski dashed home on a wild pitch in the eighth. 

"I don't know if anybody expected him to get off to a start like this, but you look at how he's throwing the ball and it's Johnny before his surgery," manager Bruce Bochy said. "It's four pitches with command. He commands the ball, cuts it, mixes up his delivery -- and that works."

The Giants needed every scoreless inning, because right now they're out there with a lineup that's providing absolutely no punch. Cueto did his best to make an early Mauricio Dubon homer hold up, and he showed a sense of the moment as his day was coming to a close. 

Cueto had a long fourth inning and was 10 pitches from his predetermined count when he went out for the fifth. The bullpen was humming, but Cueto got through the inning on just six pitches. Then he popped into the dugout and asked Bochy for the sixth. 

"It was like Johnny knew it," Bochy said. "He got some quick outs."

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Bochy joked that he would let Cueto go 120 pitches if possible, but the restraints are still on and will be for the rest of this season. Cueto could get to 80-85 pitches in his next start and said he hopes to be cleared for 100 in his season finale. With the way he's throwing right now, that might be enough to take a shot at a shutout. 

Giants vs. Marlins lineups: Mike Yastrzemski's first start in center field


Giants vs. Marlins lineups: Mike Yastrzemski's first start in center field

Before embarking on their final road trip of the 2019 season, the Giants will host the Miami Marlins in a matinee to close out a three-game series at Oracle Park.

Getting the start for San Francisco is Johnny Cueto, who wowed the crowd at China Basin in his season debut last week, allowing only one hit in five innings with four strikeouts in a Giants win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Cueto is 4-2 in 10 career starts against Miami but owns a 5.09 ERA in those outings.

Opposite the Giants ace will be 24-year-old Elieser Hernandez. The right-hander has a 3-5 record in 14 starts this season, with a 5.24 ERA. 

Coverage begins at noon PT with Giants Pregame Live on NBC Sports Bay Area and streaming live in the MyTeams app.

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Here are the lineups for Marlins-Giants:

Miami Marlins (52-96)
SS Miguel Rojas
2B Isan Diaz
3B Starlin Castro
1B Neil Walker
C Jorge Alfaro
RF Lewis Brinson
CF Magneuris Sierra
LF Jon Berti
RHP Elieser Hernandez (3-5, 5.24 ERA)
San Francisco Giants (71-78)
CF Mike Yastrzemski
1B Brandon Belt
3B Evan Longoria
LF Stephen Vogt
SS Brandon Crawford
RF Mike Gerber
LF Joey Rickard
2B Mauricio Dubon
RHP Johnny Cueto (1-0, 0.00 ERA)