Hunter Pence Shipped to the San Francisco Giants: Analyzing the Deal
Hunter Pence did not expect the news he received early Tuesday afternoon as he was preparing to face the Washington Nationals later that night. He was no longer a member of the Philadelphia Phillies, who had just traded him across the country to the San Francisco Giants.
Pence described himself as "very surprised," adding that he did not see the deal coming.
"I didn't really hear rumors. I talked to the media maybe one time, so really it just kind of happened, so I'm on to play for San Fran and hopefully in a playoff race" (from Philly.com).
The deal will most likely come as a shock not only just to Pence, but also the majority of Phillies fans.
As John Heyman of CBSSports.com first reported, the Giants will send two prospects to the Phils, along with current major-league outfielder Nate Schierhotlz.
The prospects are C/1B Tommy Joseph from Double-A Richmond and right-hander Seth Rosin from High-A San Jose.
While Baseball America ranked Joseph as the Giants' No. 2 prospect entering this season, Rosin did not appear on the top 10 list.
After the haul the Houston Astros received last year from the Phillies for Pence, fans have to be wondering if this deal was worth it.
Pence, after all, was the youngest starter on the Phillies' everyday roster and has an additional year of salary arbitration. It seemed like he was one of the few players management would definitely hold onto as the trade deadline approached today.
Schierholtz can clearly not replace the production that Pence provided, and Joseph is blocked from entering the big leagues for at least a few years by Carlos Ruiz and Ryan Howard.
What then, do the Phillies actually gain from this deal?
At the moment, only salary relief. Pence, currently due the remainder of $10.4 million salary, is scheduled for a raise in this offseason, most likely bringing his total cost to around $14 to $15 million.
Apparently the Phillies, now facing the luxury tax due to the mega-signing of Cole Hamels, were very interested in trimming salary from the payroll. It is somewhat of a shocking move for a team that has steadily increased its payroll over the last decade. Perhaps it should serve as a reminder that the Phillies are not the New York Yankees in that they do not share the same financial flexibility.
Is it possible the team dealt Pence with the idea of inking an outfielder during the upcoming free agency period to a long-term deal. Free agent outfielders this season include Josh Hamilton, Michael Bourn, Melky Cabrera, Shane Victorino and BJ Upton.
The only player seemingly better than Pence is Hamilton, though he is already 31 years old. It is hard to compare Bourn and Pence, as they are completely different types of players. However, perhaps Bourn, as a pure contact hitter and base stealer, is the player the Phillies' lineup most desperately needs.
Bourn will most likely command a large contract, and not be much cheaper than Pence.
Until the Phillies reveal their future plans this December, it is hard to be anything but frustrated with this deal. With general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. battling for his job next year, hopefully the front office leader has something up his sleeve.
If not, the Phillies just dealt away a young, productive starter for nothing more than a salary dump.
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