Posts for hunter

Trading Hunter Pence Was Stupid

Kyle Scott - January 29, 2013



image from mobilwi.typepad.com
Perhaps only Scott Hartnell thinks it was a good move

Bile Scott, writing in the comments yesterday, put forth the following: I still don’t understand why you dump Pence at the deadline last year. He was under team control for another year so instead of going to arbitration with a solid RF, you get Young and platoon unproven pups in left? It makes no sense!

Agreed. Pence had one year remaining on his contract (arbitration eligible) and is 29-years-old (30 in April). At the time of the trade, he was the youngest, most durable and reliable projected everyday player for the Phils in 2013.

True, the Phillies had to sell at the deadline last season, and trading Shane Victorino and Joe Blanton, each in the final year of their contract, made sense. But why move the youngest controllable starter when you still expect to compete the following season? 

Prospects. Eh. It’s not like either of the minor leaguers the Phillies got for Pence – Tommy Joseph and Seth Rosin – are can’t-miss players. Both are highly regarded, but, as is the case with all prospects, there are no guarantees. The Phils are still in win now mode (I think), so trading a 30-year-old everyday player with one year left on his deal for prospects, well, it doesn’t make a ton of sense.

Money. Who cares? It’s not yours. Pence avoided arbitration with the Giants by signing a one-year, $13.8 million deal, which is certainly at the high end* of what he would have gotten from the Phils, whose only spending limit is $178 million– the luxury tax threshold for 2013. Right now, the Phillies’ current payroll stands at around $156 million (plus around $10 million for player benefits that gets factored into luxury tax calculations). That leaves them about $12 million under the threshold, or, in other words: roughly a Hunter Pence under the threshold

*He likely earned himself a $2 million, “thanks for those pre-game sermons” bonus in San Fran

Having Pence this season would have made no difference to the construction of the rest of the team, as it currently stands. Yes, the Phils now have substantial flexibility, something they undoubtedly planned to, um, do something – anything at all – with this winter. But they didn’t. So, unless you’re an owner, applauding the $10 million or so they saved is foolish. And even John Middleton is going to be shaking his DAMN head when he watches Young try to catch a slicing looper.

Upgrades. Not really. Obviously, the Phils tried to do more with the money, but missed on available players – either via trade or free agency – such as the Uptons, Josh Hamilton, Nick Swisher and others. They failed to sign any impact hitters, instead settling on 900-year-old Michael Young, controllable Ben Revere (thumbs up there), and the anti-Semitic Delmon Young. They spent on pitching, sort of: Mike Adams ($5 million), Chase Utley hater John Lannan ($2.5 million), Aaron Cook ($1.6 million) and Chad Durbin ($1.1 million). None of those names, except for maybe Adams, jump out at you, but they bolster a bullpen that needed bolstering.

It all comes back to the lineup, though. The Phillies are certainly no better there than they were last season. Young is a minor upgrade over Placido Polanco, but the outfield now consists of John Mayberry, Dom Brown, Darin Ruf, Ben Revere, Laynce Nix and Delmon Young. That’s terrible for a supposedly contending team.

Pence certainly has his issues – he’s a lousy fielder, frustrating hitter, and owns a strip of land between home plate and shortstop – but he’s not as bad in the field as Young, and his stats are better than Young’s across the board. Even Swisher, who just signed a four-year, $56 million deal with the Indians, and who some thought could have been the upgrade in the outfield, didn’t have much better numbers than Pence in 2012. Oh, and he’s three years older. I have no idea if the Phils ever seriously considered signing Swish, but he at least had the type of power numbers (24 home runs, 93 RBIs) that the Phillies were likely looking for.

Some would argue Pence had the worst season of his career last year– a rarity for a 29-year-old. Yet he still finished the season with 24 home runs, 104 RBIs and was credited by his Giants teammates as being a clubhouse leader in their run to their second World Series championship in three years. Not bad.

And that’s what I keep coming back to: If nothing else, Pence is reliable. He’s played in over 150 games, and hit over 20 home runs and 25 doubles every year since 2008. In four of those five seasons, he’s driven in over 80 runs, including 91, 97 and 104 in each of the past three seasons, respectively. Those aren’t necessarily All-Star numbers, and Pence’s on-base and slugging percentages are mediocre, but he’s a plus corner outfielder, still in the prime of his career, and would have been under contract in 2013 at an amount that would have allowed the Phillies to remain under the luxury tax threshold while making the “upgrades” they did this winter. 

So, yeah, trading him was stupid.

Video: Giants Teammates Give Their Impressions of Hunter Pence’s Pre-Game Speeches

Kyle Scott - November 21, 2012

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This year, I’m thankful for #dickpunch.

From what appears to be the credits of the Giants World Series DVD, this is video of World Champion Hunter Pence, wearing a Waffle House hat, watching his teammates give their impressions of his Postseason pre-game sermons. You know, the ones that he didn’t give in Philly. Those. Apparently they were about wanting to see teammates one more time, love, and Ryan Theriot’s wardrobe.

Video after the jump.

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Of Course Hunter Pence Hit the Ball Three Times with One Swing

Kyle Scott - October 23, 2012


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GIF via SB Nation

Good morning. Here’s your #dickpunch for the day. Only Hunter Pence (and whatever that strange facial hair growth is) would manage to make contact with a pitched ball three times while hitting a harmless chopper to short that turned into a three-run double (plus error) to give his team a commanding 5-0 lead in Game 7 of the NLCS. Only Hunter Pence, who will play in the World Series.

That video plus bonus video about Hunter Pence's pre-game sermons, after the jump.

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GIF: Hunter Pence Fires Up Giants as They Head to the NLCS

Kyle Scott - October 11, 2012

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Hunter Pence Apparently Gave a Memorable Pre-Game Speech to His Teammates Last Night, Said Giants Were the Best Team He’s Ever Been on

Kyle Scott - October 10, 2012

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Somewhere, Sheena Parveen just perked up.

Just in case you were starting to feel better about the Phillies not being in the playoffs. Starting to enjoy the fine grey month of October. Enjoy the leaves falling. Pumpkin patches. ZOMG Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks it’s soooo good and I must tell all my social network friends about it nomnomnomnomnomnomnom. Pumpkin beer because it’s, um, yeah, it’s actually pretty good. And fall sleeping weather. Just in case you were starting to enjoy those things and forget that the Phillies are sitting in their homes – their really large homes – watching the MLB Postseason on TBS (brought to you by Conan and that awful song from Bruce Springsteen) just like you, here’s a swift kick to your balls or ovaries:

The Giants beat the Reds in 10 innings last night, 2-1, to force a Game 4 in the NLDS. Hunter Pence, who is 1-for-the-series (12), battled through leg cramps during his 10th inning at-bat before singling on – I know this will come as a shock – a ground ball to the left side. His getting on base made way for a Scott Rolen error that allowed the Giants to score the game-winning run. 

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But it wasn’t Pence’s hit and his gutsy ambling down the first base line (I saw one person on Twitter liken it to a dog with worms) that had his teammates talking after the game. It was the speech that he gave before the game that was all the rage. 

[There’s a bad joke in here about him saying grace before his team went out to eat… but I just can’t seem to find it.] 

Here’s how teammate Jeremy Affeldt described the speech: [CBS Sports]

"Hunter was lively, he was pacing, he was getting loud, he was getting excited. He could have said nothing and how he said it, how he addressed the team, his approach to the message he gave, I think it just got everyone excited. He could have rattled off some poem, but the way he did it, he would have gotten guys excited. It was like a pre-football game type deal." 

 

And Giants coach Tim Flannery, apparently a musician, melodramatically paraphrased the speech on, randomly, his band’s Facebook page

"get in here, everyone get in here..look into each other eyes..now! look into each others eyes, I want one more day with you, it's the most fun, the best team I have ever been on" said the Reverend Hunter Pence. "And no matter what happens we must not give in, we owe it to each other, play for each other, I need one more day with you guys, I need to see what Theriot (jerry) will wear tomorrow, I want to play defense behind Vogelsong because he's never been to the playoffs..play for each other not yourself, win each moment, win each inning, it's all we have left"…………for me an old coach it moved me like I have never been moved before…purity, real, passion, soul. the last of the holdouts this Pence..no arrows being shot, no hey look at me, no spotlight on me, no dance but "play for each other"…honor the game the game honors you..don't know where and when it ends, but tonight I was proud to be together as a team, in a hostile environment, with just us..brothers that play for the name on the front, not the name on the back.

 

Ugh. I’m not sure if that gave me douche chills… or pissed me off that the Phillies had Pence under contract next year and now have no reliable outfielders.

Pence is struggling in the playoffs, again, and didn’t have the greatest of stretches with the Giants (he batted .219 with what would have been a career-low .671 OPS), but he still finished the 2012 season with 24 home runs and a career-high 104 RBIs. Something like that would have been nice to pencil into the lineup every day next year.

The folks over at Big League Stew have some more on Pence’s proverb, which was once a lame t-shirt slogan from the Phillies but now a rallying point for the Giants, who are still playing baseball.

Hunter Pence Bobblehead Includes a Message From Hunter Pence

Kyle Scott - August 21, 2012

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Pic via now-Daily News beat writer Ryan Lawrence

The Phillies will be punching you square in the cojones tonight. Not only by giving out 45,000 41,000 Hunter Pence bobbleheads, but also by including this message from Hunter (or, a PR person who got the OK from Hunter…). 

Tonight is Hunter Pence Bobblehead Night (!!!)

Kyle Scott - August 21, 2012

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COME OUT TONIGHT TO CELEBRATE YOUR FAVORITE PLAYER AND ONE OF THE NEW FACES OF THE FRANCHISE! ALL FANS WILL RECEIVE A HUNTER PENCE BOBBLEHEAD, WHICH PAYS HOMAGE TO THE QUIRKY RIGHT FIELDER, WHO WE ALL LOVE SO MUCH.

LET’S GO EAT, YOU SAY? YES, LET’S. THE SPECIAL FOR THE EVENING IS ONE BOBBLING PENCE, IN AN ALTERNATE UNIFORM, WITH HIS TRADEMARKED HIGH LEG KICK.

AND DON’T WORRY, UNLIKE THAT OSWALT BOBBLEHEAD YOU HAVE, THE PENCE BOBBLEHEAD WON’T BE GOING OUT OF STYLE ANYTIME SOON. HE’S UNDER CONTRACT WITH THE PHILLIES THROUGH THE END OF NEXT SEASON. HE’S ONLY 29, IN THE PRIME OF HIS CAREER AND, ALONG WITH RYAN HOWARD, IS ONE OF ONLY TWO PLAYERS THE PHILLIES CAN COUNT ON NEXT SEASON TO HIT 20 HOME RUNS AND DRIVE IN AT LEAST 90 RUNS. SO COME ON OUT TO CITIZENS BANK PARK TO GET YOUR HUNTER PENCE BOBBLEHEAD AT THE 265TH CONSECUTIVE SELLOUT AS THE PHILS GO FOR A SIXTH STRAIGHT DIVISION CROWN! WACKY WAVING INFLATABLE ARM-FLAILING TUBEMEN! 

Never mind. The Phils had this planned for months and got permission from Pence to hand out his bobblehead even though he’s, you know, a Giant. Still, I’m sure a few folks will gleefully accept their collector’s item. But someone should tell this kid his shipment isn’t coming:

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Poor guy.

It’s Going to be Difficult to Keep Following Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence on Twitter

Kyle Scott - August 1, 2012

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Gah! I told you this was going to happen. Shane Victorino tweeting LA freeway pictures? Hunter Pence tweeting videos of his coffee cup? GAH! 

God, a year ago, we would have eaten this stuff up. Now I’m searching for the “unfollow” button. At least Shane has a Phillies plush toy in his locker.

Other news: The Dodgers designated Bobby Abreu for assignment to make room for Shane Victorino. My, how this world turns.