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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Giants Land Hunter Pence

The Giants' long national nightmare is officially over: they've finally found a right-handed hitting outfielder.

Hunter Pence, the 29-year-old outfielder with a career line of .292/.342/.481, comes to the Giants from the Phillies and fills a need the team has had for a while now. He immediately becomes the team's leading home run hitter and should help fortify the middle of the order, especially with Pablo Sandoval out for at least another week.

The cost for Pence was manageable: Nate Schierholtz, minor league catcher Tommy Joseph, and minor league pitcher Seth Rosin. Schierholtz had complained about playing time recently, and in spite of his stellar defense never proved to be more than a 4th outfielder. He should get a chance to start in Philadelphia, but isn't the offensive player Pence has been throughout his career. Joseph will likely be a Major Leaguer one day but the Giants are comfortable with their organizational catching depth and felt he was expendable. He has huge power, but is still probably two years away from the Majors. Rosin is a nondescript pitcher whose claim to fame seems to be his massive size (6'6", 250 lbs).

All in all, a good deal for the Giants in the short term. Pence does provide an offensive upgrade from the Schierholtz/Gregor Blanco platoon, and when Sandoval is healthy the Giants will have their best middle of the order in over a decade. They will lose something defensively with Pence getting the majority of playing time in right, but if he can be adequate there the Giants should be happy. Pence is under team control for another year, too, so this isn't strictly a rental like Carlos Beltran turned out to be.

Plus, Hunter Pence looks like a velociraptor. That's always a good thing.