This article was originally published on Golden Gate Sports.
Many players tend to have a great all-around season when they are going to be free agents at the end of the season. By doing this, they get the opportunity to sign a new long-term, hefty contract in the offseason. This is exactly what Hunter Pence has done this season for the Giants.
Pence will be a free agent at the end of this season, and he’s having a fantastic year for the San Francisco Giants. Pence is hitting .290 with 22 home runs and 82 RBI. He also has a .340 OBP, .477 slugging percentage, and a .817 OPS. Since the All-Star break, he’s hitting .338 with eight home runs and 34 RBI.
Pence will be a free agent at the end of this season, and he and the Giants have reportedly begun discussions toward a contract extension. Although he will probably command a fairly large contract, he might be worth it. Pence has said that he wants to re-sign here, and it seems like many of the other Giants players want him here too.
“It’s hard not to be a huge fan of Hunter,” Buster Posey said. “He gives 100 percent from the time he gets here to the time he leaves. He’s probably the hardest worker I’ve ever seen.”
Here are a few reasons why the Giants need to re-sign Pence in the offseason.
First of all, in addition to his impressive stat line, Pence has also started every single game this year. He has an incredible work ethic, he’s extremely fit, and he gives 100 percent on every single play, no matter what the score or the team’s record is. This is the type of guy a team would want leading a clubhouse. He’s a great role model for the younger players, and, he also knows a thing or two about giving a motivational speech.
Second, he provides some protection for Posey in the lineup. Bruce Bochy usually has Posey hit cleanup and, as of recently, has Brandon Belt hitting third, so Pence is the perfect person to hit fifth. If an opposing team wants to pitch around Posey, they’ll have to face Pence. Pence has power, finds ways to get RBI’s, and has a good OBP, so he’s the perfect player to have hitting behind Posey.
Third, he’s beloved by all Giants fans. His determination, his work ethic, his quirkiness, and his gratitude immediately made him a fan favorite. He’s extremely likable, and he has a lot of character. He’s the perfect representation of this franchise and their fanbase.
Fourth, Pence is an all-around, quality player that would be valuable to this Giants team in the future. As mentioned before, Pence has had a solid year offensively. Most importantly, he brings some much-needed power to this team. Pence has also stolen 21 bases so far this year. Pence became just the seventh player in Giants history to reach the 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases milestone.
Pence joins an elite 20-20 club of Giants including Barry Bonds, Bobby Bonds, Willie Mays, Jeffrey Leonard, Glenallen Hill, and Orlando Cepeda. Any major league club would love to have another base stealer, so Pence is even more valuable to the Giants in that sense.
Defensively, he’s quite strong as well. Since he’s in the best shape of his life right now, he’s even quicker in the outfield and is able to get to more flyballs because of it. Especially since the Giants were so poor defensively this year, Pence’s consistent, reliable defense in right field would be important for the Giants to keep around.
The Giants have three key players who will become free agents in the offseason: Pence, Javier Lopez, and Tim Lincecum. They need to determine which of these three players they want to bring back and how much they are willing to spend on them. Ideally, for Giants fans, the Giants would be able to bring back all three. Financially, it’s not clear if that’s possible.
Re-signing Pence should be a top priority for the Giants this offseason. He’s a talented, versatile player who could really help the Giants next season. He’s also a hard worker, a fan favorite, and he’s a veteran leader in the clubhouse. The Giants need to find a way to bring Pence back next season.