As the San Francisco Giants gear up for a postseason push, could a reunion with Hunter Pence be in the cards?
During his seven seasons with the San Francisco Giants, Hunter Pence helped lead the team to three postseason trips and a pair of World Series titles.
After he played out his five-year, $90 million contract last year, the Giants let him walk in free agency and he signed with the Texas Rangers on a minor league deal.
That decision sure worked out for the Rangers.
The 36-year-old is hitting .293/.348/.572 with 15 home runs and 49 RBI in 63 games this season, and he earned the nod as starting designated hitter in the All-Star Game, though he was unable to play due to a right groin strain.
On Wednesday, MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reported that the Giants could be buyers at the trade deadline if this week goes well. If that’s the case, Pence would represent a low-cost upgrade to the outfield, and the fans would no doubt love the move to bring him back.
Here’s an idea of what a potential trade might look like:
To Giants: OF Hunter Pence
To Rangers: LHP Williams Jerez, C Aramis Garcia
Kenneth Nash of Nolan Writin’ identified late-inning bullpen help and catching depth as two areas of need for the Rangers, and they would be getting two MLB-ready pieces here with multiple years of team control.
Even if they are buyers, it’s unlikely that the Giants will want to part with the kind of prospect talent it would take to acquire someone like Yasiel Puig (Reds) or Nicholas Castellanos (Tigers), so this deal fits that approach.
The left-handed Jerez has the stuff to be an MLB bullpen piece, but the Giants are loaded with relief pitching options, and moving him would open up a spot on the 40-man roster for someone like Sam Selman or Fernando Abad.
As for Garcia, he has yet to get an extended look in the majors since he’s blocked by Buster Posey and Stephen Vogt, which also makes him highly expendable. The presence of top prospect Joey Bart as the catcher of the future only furthers that point.
The energy that Pence brings to the field could provide a real shot in the arm for a team that is already on the rise over the last month. He also has significant postseason experience, which would be a welcome addition to a roster filled with young, inexperienced players.
The Giants are also no strangers to trading with the Rangers, so that could increase the likeliness of a deal.
With Mike Yastrzemski and Alex Dickerson making their case for regular playing time, there would be no guarantee that Pence would step into an everyday role. The best way to use him might be as a platoon option at a corner outfield spot when there is a left-handed pitcher on the mound.
When the San Francisco Giants let Hunter Pence walk during the offseason, it looked like the right move for everyone involved. Now, the same might be said about a reunion at the trade deadline.