The San Francisco Giants are currently locked in a tight battle with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks in the NL West. Making a trade for Hunter Pence would provide the necessary offensive boost to give them the edge.
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports the Giants have expressed interest in the Philadelphia Phillies outfielder after failing to acquire him at last year's trade deadline. The team appears willing to take on some salary in order to complete a deal.
Even though Melky Cabrera has provided the Giants with an unexpectedly great season and Buster Posey has bounced back after a serious injury, the team's offense still ranks near the bottom of the league in runs scored.
One of the main reasons for the low run output has been a lack of power in the lineup. Cabrera and Posey are the only hitters who have hit double-digit home runs. The inability to score runs with one big swing in an inning puts hitters in a lot of high-pressure situations.
Injuries to Pablo Sandoval haven't helped the cause. He recently want back on the disabled list with a hamstring issue and has been limited to just 62 games this season. His presence alone wouldn't be able to fix the offense, though.
Ultimately, they need another bat to go along with a terrific pitching staff that hasn't even reached its peak due to the struggles of Tim Lincecum. If he can right the ship down the stretch and the Giants can swing a deal for Pence, they immediately become a vastly improved team.
Pence is hitting .271 with 17 home runs and 59 runs batted in through the season's first 101 games. Those stats are right in line with his career numbers, aside from the batting average, which is a little lower than usual.
He doesn't get much recognition despite being one of the league's most consistently good outfielders over the past handful of seasons. That's probably because he's been stuck with the lowly Houston Astros and star-studded Phillies.
Moving to San Francisco, where he should immediately take a spot in the middle of the order, would change that. It would be a lot of pressure, because the Giants offense desperately needs a boost, but he has the laid-back demeanor to handle it.
The Phillies have quickly fallen out of playoff contention, which makes them more likely to make a deal before the deadline. It also gives the Giants a little bargaining power while trying to working out a deal as the time ticks toward the deadline.
All told, if the Giants want to remain atop the NL West, they need to add an impact bat. Pence fits the bill and seems like an ideal addition if the front office can pull it off.