Sunday, September 15, 2013

Hunter Pence Wants to Stay in San Francisco

The Dodgers a week ago were flying high.  I mean really high, they were fitting themselves for baseball sized World Series rings and giving Yasiel Puig the key to the city last week.  This weekend, the Dodgers lost 3 of 4 to the cellar dwelling 2012 World Series Champion Giants.

And much of that had to do with that crazy eyed lumberjack Hunter Pence.  Last night Brandon Belt credited Hunter with some of his 6 RBI success because he suggested that Belt have a "dig me" session and watch all of his home runs.  Besides having a 7 RBI night himself, Pence has plenty to add to his own "dig me" sessions for the future.

In 4 games in LA, Hunter hit 5 home runs 8 hits and 12 RBI's.  Yes 5 of his 8 hits were home runs...  In his last 6 games Hunter is hitting .520 and has 6 home runs and 19 RBI's.  Absolutely ridiculous.

If the Giants were on the fence about offering this guy a long term deal, consider them 20 miles away from that fence and into the "how much do we pay him?" category.

Hunter has made his own intentions very clear:
"I know on my side, I love it here," he said. "I love playing for Bochy. I love this city. For them to want me means a lot."
During the trade deadline, the Giants probably could've gotten a decent return in a trade for Pence, but at what cost?  In a free agent year completely devoid of talent, the Giants would have to scramble to find someone to fill the right field spot and there really aren't any better hitters out there to be had that the Giants could easily plug into the middle of the lineup.

The concern here is that Pence's numbers have not gotten inflated from this incredible hot streak and we may have Randy Winn 2.0 on our hands.

Remember when Winn hit .352 and hit 14 homers in 2 months at the end of the 2005 season?  The Giants responded by signing him to 3 years and $23.25 million.  I don't really want to get on Randy's case or anything, but he never fully replicated his success in 2005.  He had a down year in 2006 hitting only .262 with only 11 homers, but rebounded in 2007 and 2008 hitting .300 and .306 with 14 homers and 10 homers respectively.  The Giants also failed to make the playoffs any of those years.

Here's the difference.  Before that hot streak, Winn had never had a 20 homer season and had maxed out at 14 in 2002 and 2004.  Hunter has hit more than 20 homers in each of his last 6 seasons and hits consistently for average.

With Buster Posey cemented into the lineup for the next decade, the Giants need to lock up Pence as his protection for the long term.  There are no free agents that can help this team at right field and there are no minor leaguers who are looking to fill that spot in the future.  Hunter is only 30 and even a 5 year deal wouldn't be too long for a guy who hasn't missed a start since last year.

In a season that has mostly disappointed, maybe the Giants have found their right fielder of the present and long term future.  The Reverend has spoken.

Laws of the Day

On September 9th, Hunter had a .285 batting average, 19 home runs and 71 RBI's.  With 18 games to go it did not look like he would come close to 100 RBI's.  6 games later and he has a .295 average, 25 home runs and 92 RBI's.

Whether or not he stays with the Giants, Hunter is going to get paid...

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