Free agency didn't play out the way Lopez envisioned

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Free agency didn't play out the way Lopez envisioned

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Javier Lopez waited a long time for free agency. He was 33 years old. Hed missed qualifying the previouswinter by just five days of service time. He knew left-handed specialists always were prized by deep-pocket teams such as the Yankees and Red Sox.When you buy a Rolls-Royce, you dont skimp on the options. So it caught everyone off-guard when the Giants signed Lopezto a two-year, 8.5 million contract one day after the World Series ended. I know it surprised me, said fellow left-hander JeremyAffeldt.

Affeldt prepared for his 5 million option to be turned down. Theywerent going to spend close to 10 million on two left-handed relievers, were they? But a few hours later, Affeldt received word. He was coming back,too. Its the ideal scenario, Lopez said. We were bothexpecting itd be one or the other. Its a lot of money to commit to two guysand we understand that. We were keeping in contact and seeing how thenegotiations were going. Once the Giants stepped up with a multiyear deal in linewith his market value, Lopez lost all interest in playing the market. He hasbeen a part of six major league organizations. He didnt want to join a seventhjust for the thrill of chasing a few more dollars behind Door No. 2 assuming they were out there. You know what it was? The high of 2010 lingered for me,said Lopez, who gave up one hit and one walk in nine appearances that magicalpostseason. This was a special group of guys and I knew so many of them wereunder team control. Playing here is something I really enjoy. Its really toughto keep a bullpen together and the Giants have done a great job with that. Tobe able to show up and fall into the same rhythm was a major factor in wantingto come back. Giants GM Brian Sabean said the impetus to throw cash atboth lefty relievers was simple: The bullpen is a deciding factor with all the tight,one-run games within the NL West. Closer Brian Wilsons uncertain elbowplayed into the decision, too. Willy at the end of the year crashed and burned, Sabeansaid earlier this month. We went conservative with his rehab, and the bullpenwas one of our strengths the last three years. Not knowing if Willy would be atfull strength at the beginning of the year, how could we weaken that bullpen? Affeldt and Lopez pitched in a lot of high leveragesituations. We didnt want to break that up, and we didnt think (Dan) Runzlerwas ready to take over for one of them. As its been pointed out, the Giants could have let bothrelievers walk and used that money to sign Carlos Beltran. But they had noassurance that Beltran would want to return. At minimum, Sabean knew the All-Staroutfielder would want to wait until deeper into the offseason to flesh out allmarket possibilities. Thats a timeline that didnt fit the Giants, who couldnteternally hold up trades for Melky Cabrera and Angel Pagan. And Lopez was ready to do business. Obviously, you want to set yourself up for the best dealout there, Lopez said. But a lot of it is being comfortable, too, and Ive beenthe new kid in school. Its the way of life as a reliever, and its not alwaysthe best feeling. It doesnt hurt to play in front of a packed house, either. Youll often hear players say they work their whole careersto get to free agency. But there are no guaranteed roses at your feet. Take Cody Ross, the 2010 NLCS MVP. After a stressful winterof negotiations, he ended up signing a one-year, 3 million deal with theBoston Red Sox. Hell go to Fenway Park, hoping to put up numbers and puthimself in a better position for next winter. Ross could have returned to the Giants, where he'll always be cheered. The club had reached out to him on a one-year dealearlier in the offseason, but he wanted three. Thats a mistake a lot of players make, said Bochy, answering a general question about free agency without mentioning Ross. They want to play itout. I dont want to mention names, but it ends up being detrimental to theirsituations. Its all about being where you want to be. Javy wanted tobe here, Brian was very fair and we got it done. I think thats the way itshould be more often. The Giants bullpen was second in the majors with a 3.04 ERA, and it wasn't just a pretty number. Lopezand Sergio Romo allowed Bochy to get favorable matchups in the late innings. Affeldtshard stuff played against either lefties or right-handers, making him aversatile piece. Theyre vital to our success, Bochy said. Javycomplements Sergio so well and Jeremy I can use in the seventh, eighth orninth. Having two left-handers, you arent worried about when to fire your onebullet. They have great stuff and theyve had tremendous success.Whether managing a bullpen or entering free agency, the key is knowing when to pull the trigger.

Giants hammer Taillon, return favor with 11-3 win over Pirates

Giants hammer Taillon, return favor with 11-3 win over Pirates

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner saw no reason to make a big deal over his first win of the year, even if it came far deeper into the season than anyone expected.

In a season that long ago spun out of control for both San Francisco and its ace, Bumgarner was happier seeing the struggling Giants have one of their best games of the year.

Bumgarner allowed one run over five innings for his first win of the season, and the Giants beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 11-3 on Tuesday night.

"It was nice to be on the board now individually," Bumgarner said. "But that's not what it's about. It's about us winning games, and we played really good tonight."

Eduardo Nunez drove in two runs in his final game with San Francisco as he was traded to Boston for two minor leaguers. The veteran infielder was pulled in the fifth inning and was later seen on television shaking hands with several teammates in the Giants' clubhouse. The deal was announced after a few minutes after the final out.

Bumgarner also singled and scored, Buster Posey had three hits and an RBI and Joe Panik added a bases-loaded triple as struggling San Francisco won for only the fifth time in 16 games.

Josh Harrison singled twice for the Pirates, who fell behind 9-0 and couldn't recover. Pittsburgh stranded seven runners in the first five innings, including four in scoring position.

Making his third start since coming off the disabled list after nearly three months following a dirt bike accident in Colorado on April 20, Bumgarner (1-4) was mostly sharp while quieting a potent Pittsburgh lineup and ending the Pirates' seven-game winning streak at AT&T Park.

Three years after pitching a complete game to beat Pittsburgh in the NL wild card on his way to winning the 2014 World Series MVP, Bumgarner pitched out of a pair of early jams, allowed six hits and had four strikeouts.

"He did a nice job," San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said. "I'm sure he's glad to get that (first win) taken care of. Once he went five that was enough."

It's the first win by a Giants starting pitcher since July 5.

Jameson Taillon (6-4) took the loss, giving up 10 runs in three innings.

"I didn't make good pitches once they got runners on," Taillon said. "They didn't waste any time. They had a merry-go-round going."

UMPIRE GOES DOWN:
Posey lined a single that hit second base umpire Ed Hickox in the foot and knocked him down in the fifth inning. Hickox slowly got to his feet and was attended to by a member of the Giants medical staff but remained in the game.

TRAINER'S ROOM:
Giants: RHP Johnny Cueto may need to make a rehab start before rejoining the rotation. Cueto has been hindered by blisters on multiple fingers of his pitching hand, an issue that has lingered for much of the past month. The right-hander played catch from 105 feet before the game. Pablo Sandoval moved from Single-A San Jose to Triple-A Sacramento as he continues to try to work his way back into the big leagues. RHP Chris Stratton was recalled from Sacramento and IF Orlando Calixte was optioned down.

UP NEXT:
RHP Jeff Samardzija (4-11, 5.05 ERA) pitches the finale for the Giants seeking to beat Pittsburgh for the second time this season while RHP Trevor Williams (4-4, 4.74 ERA) takes the mound for the Pirates looking for his fourth win in the last five road starts.

Giants trade Eduardo Nunez to Red Sox

Giants trade Eduardo Nunez to Red Sox

Eduardo Nunez's time with the Giants is up as they have traded the third baseman to the Boston Red Sox.

The teams announced the trade shortly after the Giants beat the Pirates 11-3 on Tuesday night.

Fox Sports was the first to report the news.

The Giants will acquire minor league pitchers Shaun Anderson and Gregory Santos.

Anderson, Boston's third-round pick out of Florida in 2016, has a 3.42 ERA in 97.1 innings between Low-A Greenville and High-A Salem this season.

Santos, a 17-year-old right-handed pitcher, was signed by Boston out of the Dominican Republic in 2015. Pitching in the Dominican Summer League this season, Santos has allowed just three earned runs in 30 innings pitched.

Nunez was lifted for pinch-hitter in the bottom of the fifth inning Tuesday night and was seen hugging teammates as he left the dugout.

In 75 games with the Giants this season, Nunez hit .308/.334/.417 with 21 doubles, four home runs, 29 RBI and 17 stolen bases.

Nunez was acquired from the Twins last summer for two prospects.