Going into Wednesday’s games the Giants are 6.5 games back of the first place Dodgers and 10.5 games back of the second wild card holding Reds. While the Giants have a record of eight games under .500 that really should designate them as “sellers,” the NL West has had a bad case of losing in 2013, although the Dodgers now have the look of a team that’s done losing more than they are winning. Much to your unsurprise (not a word), you will hear in the coming week about other teams being interested in players (probably rentals like Hunter Pence, Javier Lopez, and possibly Tim Lincecum) that are on teams that have had a case of the losing in 2013. This past weekend we heard how the Pirates might have interest in Giants outfielder Hunter Pence and now you can add the Rangers to that list as Jeff Wilson of the Star-Telegram reports. He writes:
“The Rangers, facing the possibility that right-fielder Nelson Cruz could be suspended and without much production from their other outfielders, have set their sights on Chicago White Sox outfielder Alex Rios, San Francisco right fielder Hunter Pence and Seattle designated hitter Kendrys Morales to fill a need for a right-handed hitter, according to baseball sources.
Pence and Morales, a switch-hitter, can be free agents after the season, but Rios is under contract for next season. Acquiring him would replace either David Murphy or Cruz, both free agents after the season, for 2014 and fill the void in 2013 should Cruz get suspended for his ties to the Biogenesis of America clinic that distributed performance-enhancing drugs.”
While Pence struggled to produce with the Giants in 2012, his presence on defense and in the clubhouse are facets of Hunter’s game that will always be remembered by Giants fans. Pence in 100 G has 14 HR and 14 SB and is on pace for a 22/22 season. The .329 wOBA he has put up this year isn’t spectacular, although his 114 wRC+ and 2.9 fWAR do back up the case for his having a pretty good year with the Giants, making his $13.8MM one-year contract well spent dollar bills. Not sure how Pence will use that currency on his home planet. Coming into Wednesday’s game, Pence is six games away from 1,000 games and has not missed a game for the Giants in 2013 yet. He has played at least 154 games in each of his full-time seasons in the big leagues (2008-2012) and is 30 years old. Because you didn’t ask, my personal opinion is that the Giants won’t be buyers, but will have to be overwhelmed by offers to sell off their players, and they won’t be overwhelmed by offers, leaving the team mostly as it is.
Do you think Pence will be traded, or will the Giants be able to hold on to him? Bonus question: Do the Giants sign Pence to an extension if they keep him?