With one year left on his contract, the San Francisco Giants have a big decision to make this offseason regarding Hunter Pence.
I know San Francisco Giants fans love Pence, but he’s an aging player that can’t stay healthy. And he’s owed $18.5 million next year.
He hasn’t played in more than 135 games in three straight seasons now.
This has been his worst year average-wise since 2012. He’s hitting just .260 in 457 at-bats with what would be the worst on-base-percentage of his career at .314.
Pence is not likely to ever reach 20 home runs in a season again as he did from 2008 to 2014.
The biggest reason for keeping Pence around even through his decline was because of his team leadership. But that wasn’t enough to get the team going in 2017, as it seemed like everyone was day dreaming through the season.
I still think Hunter Pence is a very good major league player. And I think he has enough in the tank to be a contributor on a contending team, I’m just wondering if that team is the San Francisco Giants.
Personally, I thought the Giants should have traded him at the deadline. Maybe there wasn’t anyone interested, or maybe the front office thinks Pence is essential to the rebound they expect in 2018.
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I’ll be the first to tell you that I’m not counting on a 35-year-old Hunter Pence to turn around a 100 loss ball club.
The San Francisco Giants have a lot of young outfielders who could use some playing time in the big leagues. I think those prospects get a long look in spring training, and possibly start the year with the club.
I don’t think there will be much interest in Pence this offseason, so the Giants will most likely start 2017 with him in the lineup.
My concern is that he blocks the development of other young outfielders in the organization. I hope that isn’t the case, and if he’s injured or continues to decline offensively, they better give the kids a chance.
My guess is that the Giants aren’t contenders next year, and Pence is traded at the deadline for peanuts. You’re San Francisco Giants outfield at the end of 2018 will look very different.