This past weekend, the San Francisco Giants agreed to extend the contract of Hunter Pence by re-signing him to a five-year, $90 million contract. Giants manager Bruce Bochy has made it known getting Pence, Linecum, and Lopez to stay with the team was going to be a priority to him, so the contract extension is no surprise. What is a surprise, however, is how much; $90 million is a lot of money.
Is Hunter Pence worth it? Yes, and here’s why.
Pence has been one of the few bright spots for San Francisco this year. He batted .282 with a career-high 27 home runs. Most notably, he became a bright spot later in the season, when there began to be speculation that the Giants should trade him before the deadline.
It all started when Tim Linecum threw a no-hitter and a ball was hit to the outfield. Pence made a spectacular play to preserve the no-hitter, and he has stepped his game ever since. This showed Pence wanted to play for the Giants, that he wanted to play well, and that he cared. He’s been known for his numbers slacking off later in the season. This year, he made sure that didn’t happen. In fact, his number got better.
I know a lot of people think Pence deserved to be re-signed but think $90 million was too much. The reason I disagree actually doesn’t have everything to do with Hunter Pence. This year, many players on the Giants team have put together lackluster performances compared to what they are capable of (for example, Sandoval and Zito).
Pence played really good baseball and proved he wanted to stick around, so management rewarded him with a nice, fat contract. It will be good for player’s motivation to know they still have to show up and play if they don’t want to be traded away, and if they try hard and play well, they will be rewarded. Also, since Zito is not going to have his contract extended with San Francisco, there are more funds to cover the cost of Pence’s contract extension.
Some people think Pence is too old. He is 30, so I can’t say he’s a young player, but come on, he’s only 30!
His contract will expire when he is 35; it is possible Pence will still be going strong at that point. A lot of players who are over 30 put up very good numbers. In fact, there are players over 35 and even 40 who are playing some of the best baseball of their careers.
Hunter Pence was a nice complement to Buster Posey this year, and Bochy wanted to make sure this dynamic will be in place for years to come. Pence is more than a complement to Posey and a guy who happened to to finish his season strong for once. He is a guy who tries his hardest day in and day out. He is a guy who never gives up.
As fellow outfielder Angel Pagan said, “The game could be 20-0 with two outs in the ninth, and he still thinks we can win it.”
Pence believes in himself and the players on the team. Maybe that’s just what the Giants need to rebuild for next year and be a contender in the NL West for years to come.