Hunter Pence Trade Rumors: 5 Teams Who Will Fight over Giants' Star
The Giants have a number of decisions to make this offseason, led by the potential re-signing of Marco Scutaro and Angel Pagan.
Hunter Pence and his future with the team can be added to that list of decisions, as the outfielder could make in the neighborhood of $15 million this season in his final year of arbitration.
It seems unlikely the Giants would simply non-tender him, and according to a report from ESPN they could opt to tender him a contract and then shop him on the market.
If that winds up being the case, there should be at least a handful of teams interested in acquiring the 29-year-old former All-Star. Here are a look at the five teams who could have the most interest in bringing him aboard.
New York Yankees
The Yankees will be looking to replace Nick Swisher in right field this offseason, and while there are options on the free agent market (including bringing back deadline acquisition Ichiro Suzuki), Pence could be of interest as well.
While he had a down year in 2012, Pence is more than capable of replacing the .272 BA, 24 HR, 93 RBI line that Swisher put up this past season.
A free agent at season's end, Pence would not be a major commitment for the Yankees, and that may also appeal to a team that could be headed for some turnover over the next couple seasons.
The Braves biggest offseason decision will be what they do with free agent Michael Bourn.
Regardless of what they do in center field they could also look to add a corner outfielder as well. With Chipper Jones retired, there is a distinct possibility that the team could move Martin Prado in to play third base and add a more conventional power bat to play left field.
Pence would give the team a veteran run producer to slide in alongside Jason Heyward and Freddie Freeman, and the Braves certainly have the pieces to pull off a deal and not make their team any worse off down the line.
Boston Red Sox
After seemingly trading their entire roster to the Dodgers in August, the Red Sox have a ton of money to work with this offseason.
The team won't be looking to take on any long-term, big-money contracts as they look to rebuild, but they could be in search of some stop gap veteran options to assure some respectability in 2013.
Last season's bargain signing Cody Ross (one-year, $3 million) is likely headed for a solid payday elsewhere, and as a result the corner outfield spots are set to be manned by Ryan Kalish and Ryan Sweeney at the moment.
Pence would give the team a much-needed run producer alongside David Ortiz, and if things go south early he could net a decent return at the deadline in the team's continued rebuilding.
The Pirates were in talks to acquire Justin Upton from the Diamondbacks at the deadline last year, and they remain in need of an impact veteran bat to play right field and provide some pop in the middle of the lineup.
Travis Snider is currently slated to fill the position, but the 24-year-old has yet to prove to be anything more than a fourth outfielder with lots of potential.
Pence would also give the Pirates another right-handed bat to help break up the trio of Neil Walker, Garrett Jones and Pedro Alvarez in the lineup.
They took a chance on A.J. Burnett last offseason and that went really well, perhaps they'll go after another veteran via trade this offseason.
The Tigers were absolutely dominated by the Giants in the World Series, but with essentially the same roster coming back next season–aside from Anibal Sanchez and Delmon Young– they appear to be in a good position to be right back in the title hunt next season.
The corner outfield is undoubtedly their weakest area right now, with Andy Dirks and a Brennan Boesch/Avisail Garcia platoon expected to man the starting jobs as of now.
Pence would give the Tigers another impact bat to go along with sluggers Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera, as well as Victor Martinez who is set to return from injury.