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Hunter Pence is going to be back with the Giants in 2013

Nov 8, 2012, 8:30 AM EDT

Hunter Pence Reuters Reuters

Pop quiz, hot shot!

You traded for an outfielder in the middle of the year who often looked helpless at the plate. He was a nice guy and had character, though, serving as a great cheerleader. And hey, you won the friggin’ World Series, so it’s not like his presence in the lineup every day harmed you that much. He’s arbitration eligible now is gonna make $13-15 million next season.  What do you do? WHAT DO YOU DO?

San Francisco Giants general manager Brian Sabean can guarantee that outfielder Hunter Pence will be back with the team in 2013 … “Pence is going to be coming back,” Sabean said at the general managers’ meetings. “We think there are some things he can do to fix what went wrong this year. We like the player. We made a big trade to get him, and he’s going to be a Giant next year.”

The sub-par-for-him production in 2012 is kind of scary for a player who will make that kind of money, but I can see the argument for keeping him.

It’s a devil-you-know situation and a play for upside.  Sure, you may end wildly overpaying for a guy who has no business playing a corner for a contender, but what’s the alternative? What replacement is available out there at the moment who you know can fill that role?

Josh Hamilton is not coming to San Francisco. I suppose Torii Hunter and Nick Swisher are possibilities, but you’re talking multi-year deals that will likely be higher than their worth given the dearth of talent on the free agent market this year. And really, the Giants have not played in that sandbox too much in recent years. Beyond that you have, who, Ryan Ludwick? Melky? Ichiro?

The Giants are betting that Pence can snap back to 2011 form. If he does that, or comes close to it, he’ll come close to justifying that arbitration number (or whatever close to it the sides can negotiate). If not, it’s just a one-year gamble, not a multi-year gamble. I can’t say I blame them for doing it.

  1. number42is1 - Nov 8, 2012 at 9:02 AM

    Every time Suzayn Waldman would say his name it came out like “underspants” i lold

  2. SOBEIT - Nov 8, 2012 at 9:17 AM

    I guess it is better than what we gave Huff after the 2010 WS euphoria…a 2 yr $22M + $3.5M buyout in the 3rd year. So $25M mulit-year mistake or $13M 1yr gamble. The market salaries are just out of control with all the added tv deals so I guess this is rather tame. And who knows how the post season would have turned out in Cincinatti if Pence did not give that rahrah speech down 0-2. Maybe we don’t get past Cincy, no extra post season revenue bump for the Giants. Now they get a whole post season and a WS win revenue bump.

    The other side is if we do try to bring back Melky, it should be at a bargain rate…so it all might even out. Plus if we stick with Blanco, he is on the cheap right now. The question is how much is Pagan and Affeldt looking for to come back since they are looking for multi-year deals.

  3. stex52 - Nov 8, 2012 at 9:25 AM

    Pence was carrying an average OPS over .800 for the three previous years. His fielding is average and his arm is pretty good. When he gets in the groove with that big, looping swing, he can tear it up for weeks at a time. And you can never knock his excitement and enthusiasm.

    Would I sign him for three years at 40 MM$? No. Do I think he’s due to come back to his norm? Probably. In which case, he’s a pretty good deal. Just keep in mind he is streaky, and there are periods where he will really frustrate you.

    • xmatt0926x - Nov 8, 2012 at 2:01 PM

      You may be stretching to call his defense “average”. He was brutal in Philly defensively and I watched an interview with a San Fran beat guy a while back and he said that the Giants management feels that he he takes horrible routes to the ball and is an “adventure” in the outfield. He has a strong arm for sure.

      • stex52 - Nov 8, 2012 at 2:47 PM

        Yeah, I saw the stats and got the comments from the Philies fans. I regarded him as about what you would expect for a right fielder in Houston. BRef dWAR statistics don’t ever show him to be particularly good; and certainly a lot worse last year.

        Change of parks? Or no more Michael Bourn in CF? Don’t know.

  4. Hunter Pence's Eyes - Nov 8, 2012 at 10:23 AM

    Solid move.

    Plus those eyes… INTENSE!!

    • historiophiliac - Nov 8, 2012 at 10:51 AM

      Please, it’s not like he rocks the heterochromia iridum.

      • Hunter Pence's Eyes - Nov 8, 2012 at 10:53 AM

        Fair enough.

        But the eyes and the hockey style playoff beard.


      • cur68 - Nov 8, 2012 at 11:25 AM

        Seriously, those eyes freak me out. Every time I see him pop those crazy things I think “check that man’s thyroid!”. Then I go hide under the bed (just in case he’s coming to get me).

      • Hunter Pence's Eyes - Nov 8, 2012 at 11:42 AM

        I’ve often wondered if he had a touch of the Graves….

      • historiophiliac - Nov 8, 2012 at 11:49 AM

        An eye of steel and one that is the strong Missourah dirt — you can’t look away. It captivates. Rowr. While you are distracted, it feeds on the K’s.

  5. gogigantos - Nov 8, 2012 at 10:36 AM

    It is good for clubhouse chemistry and other baseball Gods relationships to have a contender for most bug-eyed dude on the roster. Really, the money is a one year gamble, haven’t heard talk of extensions. Fair enough.

    Need to upgrade Blanco. He is a greeeeat bench player, fourth outfielder type, not not not an everyday player.

    Having Pagan back would be great, at whatever fair cost comes out to be. Maybe I am wrong, but I think he is more valuable that Bourne. I hope he isn’t as expensive.

    Getting Affeldt back would be super so long as doesn’t think that the Fodgers have set the market with League’s(sp) insane contract. Ducking Fodgers are out of their mind with that. I thought Affeldt’s last contract was an overpay, being wrong. He has been a very effective glue guy in a productive and inning eating bullpen. Will hate it if is gone. Would hate more paying him where the Fodgers have set the bar.

    Getting Scutaro back for two years at moderate price would be super, three is OK in a post parade state of bliss. His age and decline may be balanced by his presence, intangibles, chemistry and hitting coach qualities that the Giants seem to value, who knows. I hope he values the situation more than the money that may be thrown at him.

    Who knows what comes next. Gonna sit down by the stove and stoke the coals for a few months and find out. A lot seems to rest with the ownership and their willingness to spend a bit more coin to improve the team.

  6. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Nov 8, 2012 at 11:22 AM

    Give him an extra million for razors and some Edge Gel please

  7. phillies816 - Nov 8, 2012 at 2:24 PM

    Seemingly a really good guy but way overrated. When he got to Philly I was really stoked til I saw him play. The guy is lost at the plate most times and can’t field worth a lick. By the end of next year Giants fans will be begging for him to go

  8. toplesscorvette - Aug 31, 2013 at 9:53 PM

    Absolutly ridiculous paying this guy 13.8 million dollars. Stumbling bumbling in the outfield.
    Looking at strikes swinging at ball.

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