Thursday, July 4, 2013
Pence's free agent year
By Jason A. Churchill
San Francisco Giants right fielder Hunter Pence is scheduled to become a free agent after the World Series in October. He'll join Shin-Soo Choo and Jacoby Ellsbury as the top outfielders and hitters available. It's certainly not out of the question that the defending champs attempt to extend his contract before he hits the market, but Pence could cash in big if he the season strong.
Pence, who is earning $13.8 million this season, just turned 30 years of age and is known for his leadership, aggressive approach at the plate, good power and steady defense. Pence figures to get offers of at least four years and above the $15 million average annual value (AAV) mark.
Through 84 games, Pence is hitting .276 with 13 home runs and 13 stolen bases. He's in a bit of a funk right now, having gone hitless in his last 10 at-bats, but his season has been a success. A strong finish all but guarantees him some big money, perhaps in the range of what Nick Swisher received from the Indians last winter -- four years, $56 million.
The Giants are playing well enough now to assume they'll be in the mix in July and will not be in a position to consider moving Pence before the July 31 trade deadline. The club could be the favorites to bring him back for the long haul, though clubs such as the New York Mets, Texas Rangers and perhaps the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox, too, could have significant interest.