Former Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi continues to build the San Francisco Giants with the philosophy he helped cultivate during his time with Los Angeles. And it’s getting quite frustrating! The latest move, though not exactly flashy, involved him picking up for Dodgers pitcher Darien Núñez. But let’s provide a little backstory, first.
The Giants hired Zaidi away from the Dodgers following the 2018 season and all it took was two third-place finishes in the NL West before the team won a franchise-record 107 games and the division in 2021. Though San Fran didn’t eliminate the Dodgers in the NLDS, the rivals wore LA down tremendously along the way.
Once again, the Giants are off to a hot start and figure to be a thorn in the Dodgers’ side for the entirety of 2022. The reason why? Is because the Giants have quickly turned into Dodgers Jr. with Zaidi’s various transactions that very much mirror what Andrew Friedman and Co. do in LA.
Look a little closer! You can see with these moves ever since he took over:
- Traded for Mike Yastrzemski
- Traded for Alex Dickerson
- Traded for LaMonte Wade Jr.
- Signed Jake McGee away from the Dodgers
- Signed Alex Wood away from the Dodgers
- Signed Jose Alvarez and brought him back to life
- Claimed Jarlin Garcia from the Marlins
And more, of course! Don’t forget about Darin Ruf! Mostly under-the-radar, shrewd moves that exceed expectations and vastly outplay their perceived (and literal) value. Sound familiar?
The Dodgers have done that with Max Muncy, Justin Turner, Chris Taylor, Kiké Hernandez, and others. So when Zaidi and the Giants signed Núñez, some Dodgers fans couldn’t help but raise an eyebrow.
The Giants signed former Dodgers pitcher Darien Núñez
When Zaidi was with the Dodgers, they signed Núñez in 2018 out of Cuba, but the left-hander didn’t reach the majors until last season. After an unimpressive professional debut, he required Tommy John surgery this week, and the Dodgers had to cut him loose off the 40-man roster.
Now, it seems as if Zaidi is trying to capitalize on what the Dodgers won’t be able to, assuming Núñez is able to reach the potential that was once attached to him. At the time of his signing, Núñez was a flamethrowing Cuban veteran who struggled with command despite high strikeout numbers.
The Dodgers stashed him in their farm system, seemingly were on their way to successfully developing him as a reliever (2.49 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 201 strikeouts in 126.1 innings) before the pandemic halted his progress. Then came his weak debut and injury.
Now, Zaidi has the full profile on Núñez and will be able to utilize him likely during some point next season. It’s not a move that’s going to pay off in this very moment, but that’s the concern. Guys like Zaidi are always thinking ahead, and it wouldn’t be shocking if the left-hander was producing well beyond his price tag come the end of 2023.
Dodgers fans have seen this firsthand. And now the opposition is doing it in their backyard.