SF Giants Trade Rumors: Hunter Pence for Starting Pitcher Would Be Smart Move

Jesse ReedCorrespondent IJuly 29, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JULY 20:  Hunter Pence #8 of the San Francisco Giants looks on from the on-deck circle against the Arizona Diamondbacks at AT&T Park on July 20, 2013 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The San Francisco Giants aren't shopping Hunter Pence, but the team would be wise to get what it can from the aging outfielder while he's still tradable.

As noted by Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, the Giants shot down any notion that Pence could be traded when the Pittsburgh Pirates were reportedly interested in mid-July.

But it seems they have softened their stance. 

It's not surprising, either. Since July 20, when Heyman wrote his report, San Francisco has lost seven of its last eight games and is spiraling downward in dramatic fashion. As such, the team has changed the language used regarding Pence's availability, as noted by Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com:

The Giants are on rubbery legs now, 7 ½ games out in the NL West—their largest deficit of the season...the Giants are not shopping Pence, they’ll answer the phone—especially if a contender is willing to give up a controllable starting pitcher that they’d feel good about putting on the mound every fifth day.

Baggarly wrote his piece on July 25, before the team lost three games in a row to the Chicago Cubs—another team that is struggling this season. The Giants only allowed six runs in those three contests, but scored just three of their own. 

Clearly, the Giants are struggling to score and to keep teams from scoring, but the bigger long-term concern right now is just as clearly their pitching staff. 

Aside from Madison Bumgarner, who has been rock-solid all year long, San Francisco's starting rotation is a mess. 

Tim Lincecum, though just 29 years old and fresh off a recent no-hitter, possesses an arm with the elasticity of a wet noodle. He's completely lost the velocity he once had, and he's been a shell of his former self the past two years. 

Matt Cain and Barry Zito are also both struggling this year, and as the team's offensive lineup isn't exactly putting up huge numbers, their struggles have been highlighted even more. 

Some may argue that trading away Pence would be the completely wrong thing to do, as he is one of the few hitters who has produced with any regularity this season. 

But without pitching, the Giants are doomed to mediocrity—at best—and will have absolutely no chance of making the playoffs this year or next. 

Pence isn't a young, up-and-coming star, and he isn't a guy who can carry an offense. The Giants need pitching more than they need a decent right fielder who hits with power. 

Obviously, San Francisco shouldn't go out of its way to trade Pence, but it appears there is plenty of interest for his services. The Giants should continue to promote Pence's availability to see what kind of deal they can get in return. 


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