Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that the Pittsburgh Pirates have interest in San Francisco Giants outfielder Hunter Pence. Heyman says that unless things change, Pence is staying in San Francisco. The Giants would only deal Pence if they were out of the race and overwhelmed, according to Heyman.
Right now the Giants don’t have a good record, but they’re only five and a half back in the weak NL West. Even though they’re 5.5 back, they’re in fourth place in the division, so from an outsider’s perspective they’re not exactly a contender. If the Giants were in any other division, they’d be more than ten games back.
The Giants acquired Pence last year at the trade deadline in exchange for Nate Schierholtz and prospects Tommy Joseph and Seth Rosin. Joseph was the third best prospect in the Phillies farm system coming into the year.
I’m not sure why the Giants would have to be overwhelmed to deal Pence. He’s a free agent after the year, and isn’t putting up numbers like the Pence of old. He’s got a .265/.307/.455 line in 378 at-bats this year, and is making $13.8 M. The Giants might be able to tender him a qualifying offer at the end of the year and get a compensation pick in the draft next year if he signs a multi-year deal somewhere. That would be their only leverage, and the only reason to hold onto him in my view.