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Giants, Hunter Pence agree to five-year, $90 million extension

Sep 28, 2013, 1:30 PM EDT

Hunter Pence Getty Getty Images

UPDATE: Andrew Baggarly of hears that Pence’s new deal will include a no-trade clause.

1:30 p.m. ET: Alex Pavlovic of the San Jose Mercury News reports that the two sides have agreed to a deal, pending a physical.

1:28 p.m. ET: FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that it would be a five-year, $90 million deal.

1:18 p.m. ET: CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that the Giants and Pence are “closing in” on a $90 million deal. The contract would carry an AAV (average annual value) of $18 million per season, topping Andre Ethier‘s five-year, $85 million ($17 million AAV) extension from last year. Pence’s new deal will likely set the bar for free agent outfielders like Shin-Soo Choo and Jacoby Ellsbury this winter.

10:08 a.m. ET: Hunter Pence is poised to do quite well in free agency this winter, but it’s possible he’ll come to an agreement with the Giants before getting a chance to hit the open market.

In an unusual scene, Andrew Baggarly of reports that Pence and Giants president Larry Baer had a long discussion in the clubhouse “within earshot of reporters” after last night’s game in which they appeared to be discussing a new contract. Baer merely said that he was congratulating Pence for winning the team’s Willie Mac Award, given annually to the team’s most inspirational player, but the impending free agent confirmed that the two sides are discussing a contract and that a deal could be imminent.

“They’re about to get back to me, seriously,” Pence said. “So we’re either really close or really far away.”

Like, close as in he could reach an agreement before everyone scatters for the winter on Sunday?

“Yeah,” Pence said. “I’ll know shortly. We’ll just say we’re talking, I guess.”

His quotes came hours after general manager Brian Sabean called re-signing Pence the first priority among the “heavy lifting” prior to the start of the free agency period. The club also hopes to retain Tim Lincecum and Javier Lopez.

Pence has enjoyed one of his best seasons this year, batting .282/.339/.481 with 26 home runs and 94 RBI over 160 games. The 30-year-old has previously said that he would pass up free agency to sign a multi-year deal with the Giants, but he’s obviously not going to come cheaply.

  1. sisqsage - Sep 28, 2013 at 12:51 PM

    Pence is an interesting case. He helped them out more last year with pep talks than his actual play in the playoffs and WS. If he played better last year, he’d already have his long term deal. Started off red hot this season and then together with Posey and Sandoval got really cold in June and July, which was a major reason the team fell out of contention. Then he played out of his mind from like mid-August to mid-September, probably his best month ever in the bigs when the team didn’t have much to play for. Last night, he then breaks an 0-for-27 skid. Despite the wild swings in stats, he’s been their best right fielder in a long time, and is a great rep for the organization, so they would be making a mistake in letting him go with no clear replacement on the roster or in the minors. Somebody will pay up for Pence on a long term deal. The Giants will, as usual, overpay, but they don’t have any better options at this point. He just won the Willie Mac Award, so you can’t let that get away. I’d say he might re-sign for 5 years and 18.5 mil per season, a nice raise over his 13 mil for this season.

  2. chc4 - Sep 28, 2013 at 1:57 PM

    Nice player but $18m per year? No thanks.

  3. ochospantalones - Sep 28, 2013 at 1:57 PM

    This seems like a pretty insane contract for a good but not great player in his 30’s. The Ethier contract was nuts too, and now they’re already looking to trade him. Pence will have to keep producing like he did in his best two seasons (2011 and 2013) for at least 4 of the 5 years for this to work out, and that seems pretty unlikely for a guy in his early 30’s. But with the rate of salary inflation in MLB, who knows? Maybe $18 million will be the going rate for a mediocre right fielder in 2017.

    • paperlions - Sep 28, 2013 at 2:11 PM

      Pence is making about $1.35M/year more on his deal than Holliday, who was a year younger when signed, but did a 7 year deal…he’s be good for it (and then some) the first 4 years, but, of course, Holliday has always been a far superior player to Pence.

      Not sure that salary inflation is really that high right now. Wainwright’s 5 year deal starts next year and he’ll be making $1.5M/year more than Pence. Anyone really think those 2 players represent similar value even with the increase injury risk to pitchers?

  4. paperlions - Sep 28, 2013 at 2:02 PM

    That seems like an awful lot for a guy’s age 31-35 seasons who is actually coming off a career year and has a .339 career OBP and 119 wRC+ just coming out of his peak years….the 5 years is fine, but the AAV is really high for the production he usually provides. This feels just like the Ethier deal, same age, same length, similar type of player, deal signed when the player was having his best production of he career….and that deal wasn’t a good idea at the time either.

  5. coryfor3 - Sep 28, 2013 at 2:03 PM

    I like him but c’mon. 18 million per year?

  6. earpaniac - Sep 28, 2013 at 2:17 PM

    Wow. Nice player, but not $18 million a year nice.

  7. okwhitefalcon - Sep 28, 2013 at 2:26 PM

    Shin Soo Choo just got a helluva lot more richer.

  8. usg1 - Sep 28, 2013 at 4:34 PM

    Lol…. I liked Pence when he played for my Phillies and thought we shouldn’t have traded him, but he isn’t worth 18 million per year. That is just ridiculous. This isn’t inflation. This is just a team overpaying someone who just had a career year. Happens all the time.

  9. sfm073 - Sep 29, 2013 at 10:43 AM

    And this is why it cost me a hundred dollars just to take my gf to a game. We’re all suckers.

    • paperlions - Sep 29, 2013 at 10:44 AM

      No, it isn’t. It costs you $100+ dollars to go to a game because people, including you, are willing to pay it, and the fact that millions of people will pay the current prices, sets the market….as soon as MLB attendance takes a serious hit, prices will come down.

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