The term “hug watch” has become a popular phrase surrounding the Major League Baseball trade deadline. There might be rumors a player will be traded during a game, but a deal isn’t official for fans until that guy is hugging his teammates in the dugout.
It’s not clear when that tradition began, but San Francisco Giants third baseman Eduardo Núñez kept it alive Tuesday night. Upon learning he had been dealt to the Boston Red Sox, Núñez was spotted in the dugout hugging and saying goodbye to all his Giants teammates.
— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) July 26, 2017
At the time that video went live, no one knew where Núñez was going. He had been rumored to be available in deals, though, so once the hugs began, people knew a trade was coming. A few minutes later, Ken Rosenthal reported Núñez was traded to the Red Sox. The Giants will receive minor-league pitchers Shaun Anderson and Gregory Santos in the deal.
The 30-year-old Núñez is hitting .307/.331/.413 over 315 plate appearances this season. He is set to be a free-agent in a few months, and had no value sticking with the struggling Giants.
Núñez enters a strange situation in Boston. He’s mostly played third base this season, but the Red Sox just called up top prospect Rafael Devers on Sunday. If Devers is going to remain in the majors, the team will have to figure out a way to split playing time between the two.
Núñez can also play other positions, though. He’s spent time at short, second and in both corner spots of the outfield over his career. The Red Sox are set in all those spots, but Núñez could see a lot of playing time as a utility man who starts a fair amount of games while others rest.
The Giants took a shot on two young pitchers. Anderson, 22, has posted a 3.42 ERA over two levels this year. He’s currently in High A. Santos is 17, and currently in rookie ball, so he remains years away from making an impact in the majors. Over 30 innings, he’s put up a 0.90 ERA.
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