The San Francisco Giants might not be able to make a trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers, but they can still nab some of their players in other ways. And that’s exactly what happened on Wednesday, when the Giants added left-handed pitcher Darien Núñez after the Dodgers released him due to an injury. Núñez joined the Giants on the same day that he underwent Tommy John surgery, which should sideline him until midway through the 2023 season.
Sources: Cuban LHP Darien Nuñez (29) was signed by the San Francisco Giants. Nuñez received the news on Tuesday after finishing his Tommy John surgery, which lasted more than two hours. Despite missing all of 2022, he feels in good spirits. pic.twitter.com/7UKtPWLy3E— Francys Romero (@francysromeroFR) April 27, 2022
Núñez’s transactions page lists him as being released by the Dodgers and signed by the Giants, though the Giants announced the news to beat reporters as being a waiver claim. So big thanks to this Twitter user for explaining that it is likely the rarely-seen release waiver claim.
I think it's probably a release waivers claim, like Gonzalez was last year. There's an open 40-man spot with Yaz and Littell on the COVID IL though— Patrick Karraker (@PatrickKarraker) April 28, 2022
Núñez is a fascinating player. The Dodgers signed him as an international free agent in 2018, when he was already 25 years old ... seven to nine years older than the average international signing.
He made his MLB debut last year with the Dodgers and it didn’t go well, as he allowed eight hits and seven earned runs in 7.2 innings. That included an appearance as an opener against the Giants, when he gave up two runs in as many innings, including a home run to Alex Dickerson.
But his Minor League numbers have been electric. Throughout four years in the Minors he’s struck out 201 batters in just 126.1 innings. And unlike most MiLB strikeout artists, Núñez has done a fairly strong job suppressing walks, as he’s issued 48 of them.
By adding Núñez after his injury, the Giants are essentially saying they’re willing to do what the Dodgers weren’t: pay him while he’s injured so that they can play him when he’s healthy. It may not work out, but it’s great that they’re willing to do it.