If I’ve learned anything from Brian Sabean over the years, it’s that when he puts something at the top of his priority list, he usually gets it done. And he has a definite preference for guys that have already proven themselves in a Giants uniform. Both of those things were the case for Hunter Pence, whose re-signing Sabean called the number one priority for the organization this offseason. Well, they didn’t wait for the offseason to get a new deal put together, and it looks like Pence could spend the rest of his career in San Francisco.
Good for him.
Five years, $90 million for the eccentric, gangly right fielder who does and says all the right things, and never takes a day off. As of this afternoon, he’s also got 27 HR, a career best. He’s also sporting a .282 average for the year, which is back around his career mark. That return in average was very important, as he was only a .219 hitter in 59 games with the Giants after the trade deadline last year (regular season). It’s pretty much a given that he’s going to hit a good amount of home runs; the dude has some of the most power in the game. But he’s much more valuable when he’s hitting for average as well.
Whether you think 5 years is too long or $90 million is too pricey for a streaky 5-6 hitter like Pence, this was a deal the Giants had to make. They needed a corner outfielder (or two), they love Pence, Pence loves San Francisco. It all worked out. With so much media speculation and rumors these days, it’s pretty refreshing to see a team and player follow through on their sentiments.
With the Pence deal, Sabean now has his CF and RF locked up for a combined $135 million over 9 years, although Angel Pagan now has 3 years left on his contract. Don’t forget Buster Posey’s blockbuster either. For a team that’s prided itself on pitching for the past few years, there’s certainly a lot of cash behind that lineup.
The Giants got their “heavy lifting” done with the signing of Pence, in the words of Sabean. They’ve still got plenty of work to do once the offseason does begin, but this is definitely a nice start.