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The Boston Red Sox, hesitant to entrust their World Series hopes on a 20-year-old rookie third baseman, got themselves a key insurance policy Tuesday night, acquiring San Francisco Giants veteran infielder Eduardo Nunez for two right-handed pitching prospects.
The Red Sox, who had been scouting Nunez for weeks, sending executive Frank Wren to watch him in San Francisco during the home stand, sealed the deal while Nunez was still in the game for the Giants. He was informed of the trade and taken out of the game in the fifth inning, receiving hugs from the entire Giants team in the dugout.
“I really enjoyed being here,’’ said Nunez, hitting .308 with a team-leading 17 stolen bases, “but at the same time I’m excited to join a team that’s in first place. You’re going to work and compete for a championship.’’
Ironically, he replaces Pablo Sandoval, who was released last week in the third season of his five-year, $95 million contract since leaving the Giants as a free agent. He now could be replacing Nunez, signing a minor-league contract with the Giants’ Class AAA Sacramento team.
“I’m going to miss him,’’ Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “This guy was exciting and gave me a lot of options … just a fun guy.’’
Nunez now provides the Red Sox with an option at third base with the call-up of prized prospect Rafael Devers, who made his first start Tuesday night in Seattle. Nunez has been hitting .358 since June 1, fourth-best in the major leagues among players with at least 100 at-bats.
Certainly, he’s badly needed considering the Red Sox third basemen have hit .226 this season with a .278 on-base percentage and .317 slugging percentage.
Devers is considered among the top 10 prospects in baseball, and he batted .311 with a .377 on-base percentage and .578 slugging percentage in the minors but has precious little experience.
For the Giants, who have the second-worst record in baseball, 39-63, this will be the beginning of their rebuild. The prized prospect they received was Shaun Anderson, considered the Red Sox’s 18th-best prospect. He was a third-round pick in 2016 as a closer in Florida, who the Red Sox were developing as a starter. Gregory Santos, 17, is a promising pitcher, but is in just his second professional season, yielding a 0.90 ERA this summer in the Dominican Summer League.
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