And now... the Giants start getting hot. Flashing the potential that's been dormant all year.
Hunter Pence is blowing Randy Winn out of the water as far as contract year pushes (yes, Winn had one more year on the clock and wasn't hitting FA). Pence looks to be the guy with the most power out of the 3 FA OFs, Ellsbury despite what Scott Boras will tell you is a huge injury risk with no power, watch out for speed fading in the mid 30s... And Choo does have pop but would be hurt by AT&T's dimensions, at least at a glace at the ol HR tracker.
I've always thought Choo was a nice underrated ballplayer. But when you're going to flirt with eight figure salary because of the OBP, its not a bargain. I think he has more warts on the defensive side than our goofy hero, and that will be a risky contract for sure.
Now what will Pence get? Well, he's gone from a 4/60MM type to something bigger. Would he take 5/75 as the home town discount? 5/85? The Giants have shown pretty good discipline on the contract length since our pal Warrior Spirit got his infamous 5/60. Renteria, the injured infielders special (6MM and you're going on the DL for sure - DeRosa and Sanchez). Then this past offseason is was more years but a pretty ruthless stand on the annual value - Affeldt, Casilla, Scutaro and Pagan were all given one more year than what the Gigantes were most likely comfortable with, but in a way those were all hometown discounts, they kept the AAV pretty even.
I bet the Giants get it done in the exclusive window, and I bet its for more than fans would want. Its not your money, and its an open market. Well... almost open. He will have that QO loss of draft pick attached. Quick look at the hole in the tank... I knew the Giants couldn't stay all the way down...
Giants 81 losses, they have a couple teams on their tail: Philly 80, the Angels 77, San Diego 80 and those draft manipulatin' hoodlums from the north, the Blue Jays are tied with 81 losses themselves.
Mets 82 (About frickin' time!)
The Giants are tied for 10th! And the Jays get the 11th pick, they might go back to back. Imagine the manipulation opportunities that might abound.
So what does that leave us with Pence and Timmy? Well, everybody will start jabbering about Seattle. If Timmy wants to go hang out with that loser organization that can't win a lick ever, go for it. I'm sure there will be a lot of talk bout that, but the bottom line is the Giants are a very desireable locale, despite what hand wringing fans say on the interwebz. Beyond that, there's mainly teams in full rebuild. I could see the Mets trying a tricky 2-year deal, but not much else.
Pence - I bet the Mets will get in on Pence. If the Giants let him get to that part of the negotiating period, their odds go way down. Timmy will most likely take them there no matter what, to see what he will get offered. That's how his agents have operated throughout. (Same agency for both players by the way). But if I know Brian Sabean and the Greybeards... they will be making a strong move quick. This is the problem with hedging though, they might have been able to get something along those 4/60MM done before this hot streak, but they had to be cagey. Unfortunately for the Gigantes, how you finish is pretty huge in MLB. There's plenty of streakiness in Pence's game to give pause.
I have always liked Pence. I think he's a solid yet unconventional player. He puts up solid numbers and he plays hard. That old saw "he doesn't do anything right and yet he does everything" is pretty true. He just seems like a throw back to the days of Ty Cobb with that wacky choke up and hacktastic swing. The warm up swing is pure comedy. Hope he's back, and I hope Timmy is back. But Timmy is going to make it a bidding war, and that will stretch patience and resources. He hasn't proven that he can be a reliable part of the rotation, so I think the Giants have to tread lightly. Getting a Phil Hughes signed up early would be a great hedge against Timmy departing. There isn't a hedge like that for Pence. He's gonna cost baby, he's gonna cost...