Tuesday, July 31, 2012

O'Donnell was right after all, Pence to Giants

A couple nights ago, Dennis O'Donnell of KPIX twittered about that the Giants "have acquired Hunter Pence".

It started a wildfire of retweets (re-posts for you old people not on Twitter), by everyone and their mother, including Andy Baggarly of CSN. 

With fans going nuts over this apparent news, KPIX ran the story even after Baggarly had confirmed with Bobby Evans of the Giants' front office that a deal was not in fact completed. They even did some quick photoshop work.
Well, I think we all owe old Denny O'D an apology for skewering him. He was right after all. But with the way Twitter works these days, any member of the media that says anything-- even personal speculation-- about a trade or acquisition, needs to be very careful. It spreads like a diseased game of telephone and all bets are off. People gain and lose credibility constantly.

Regardless, Giants fans have the impact hitter they've been clamoring for. He should at least counter the Handjob Ramirez move by the Blue Bastards, and will instantly make the lineup more formidable.

He's not a prototypical 3 or 4 hitter, and is not type of guy to build an offense around, but he has real pop, and has an above average arm in right field. He is an upgrade over Schierholtz/Blanco in most ways, and plays the game hard.

Furthermore, his 17 dongs with Philadelphia this season are instantly the most on the team, something that is no surprise to a fanbase starved for the longball.

As you know, the Giants paid a fairly high price for the intense right-hander. Going to Philly are Schierholtz, Double A catching prospect Tommy Joseph and Single A pitcher Seth Rosin.

Most shocking to me is the sudden about face by Giants management. They've taken on the remainder of Pence's $10.4MM arbitration deal from this season-- somewhere around $4.5MM-- something that they said they wouldn't be "able" to do.

If anything, the Dodgers did us a major favor by reaming us for three games and acquiring half of baseball in the process (Handjob, Victorino, League).

It really showed ownership that to keep up, they needed to act immediately and that they needed to spend a few more million. 

It is not a cheap acquisition monetarily as Pence is under Giants control next season, but will be due an arbitration raise in the $12-15MM range. If they like what they see, they also have the option to lock him up beyond arbitration years like they did with Bumgarner.

With so little available next offseason in terms of free agents, this type of move has to be a no brainer, despite the committed money they've taken on.

Pence is a career .290 hitter who since breaking onto the scene with Houston in 2007, has averaged 23 HR and 82 RBI-- something that we can't say we've had very much of lately.

He doesn't walk at a rapid pace, but his 37 BBs this year puts him right up with Giants leaders Belt/Blanco (38), and Posey (36). He also strikes out a fair amount (19% K Percentage, 0.44 K:BB ratio).

The only other concern I'd have is how quickly he'll pick up the complicated RF at AT&T Park. Schierholtz played it with a grace and skill that is not easily duplicated. Pence has a plus arm and is a decent defender, but the unpredictable archways and bullpen mounds out there can make you look stupid sometimes. Let's hope he picks that up quickly.

By all accounts, Pence is a great teammate, and he plays hard. For you nerds out there, he also loves computer games like World of Warcraft and has been known to have a big computer on his kitchen table. He also has been known to never blink and wears one batting glove-- sometimes none. Call him the most interesting acquisition in the world.
Hey it's a good move and is Dodgerhater approved, but Sabean cannot stop here. Romo and Casilla are hurting right now, and they need a big time late innings bullpen guy to settle things down.

Thank you ownership for committing to improvement. We all appreciate it.

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