Giants overpay for Pence

Outfielder not likely to replicate production over next five seasons

Updated: September 29, 2013, 3:57 PM ET
By Dan Szymborski | ESPN Insider

Hunter PenceKelley L Cox/USA TODAY SportsHunter Pence signed a 5-year, $90 million contract extension with the San Francisco Giants.

The offseason has apparently started early this year, with the San Francisco Giants and Hunter Pence reportedly agreeing on a five-year, $90 million contract extension on his current contract, which expires after this season. By signing Pence now, the Giants know who their starting right fielder is through the end of the 2018 season. But is it a good idea?

The natural comparison for a Pence contract is the one that Andre Ethier signed in June 2012, a five-year, $85 million contract. But as parents around the world have informed their teenage children for generations, just because someone jumps off a bridge doesn't mean you should do it too. In fact, some of the same concerns about the Ethier contract apply here.

Like the right fielder for the archnemesis Dodgers, Pence has been a solid starter with a couple of seasons that have edged near the border of stardom. The exact year-by-year breakdown of Pence's contract isn't available yet, but at an average of $18 million a year, the Giants are paying more for past performance than expected future performance. Even with a win on the free-agent market expected to be at or slightly above the $5 million mark, Pence is going to have to be worth 16 wins above replacement level over the next five seasons to hit the fair market price for the Giants.


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