One of the biggest questions for the Giants heading into the postseason was answered Saturday: Hunter Pence will remain a Giant.
There were two schools of thought regarding Pence’s future in San Francisco.
The first says it would be great to re-sign Pence … if the price was right.
The other school of thought was that the Giants had to re-sign Pence. They HAD to. They could not go into the offseason trying to replace their left fielder AND their right fielder.
The money really didn’t matter. The market would determine the money. Considering the options, the Giants had to re-sign Pence.
Ray Woodson on KNBR Friday night, I thought, correctly stated when he said the discussion would need to start at four years, $60 million.
So when the first reports said the deal the Giants and Pence agreed to was five years, I thought “OK, I guess it took five years to get the deal done now.”
Then the number came in: $90 million. Five years, $90 million. $18 million a year.
Wow. Just wow.
If you had asked me to project where Pence’s number would come in, I would not have come anywhere near five years, $90 million.
During his press conference Friday, Giants general manager Brian Sabaen must have used the word “budget” a dozen times.
He must have been talking about the budget AFTER giving Pence $90 million.
So the good news is Pence will return in 2014. That leaves one question mark in the starting lineup: left field.
But how much money is in the coffers to spend on a quality improvement for a left-fielder?
One possible solution is recent Cuba defector Jose Abreu. Abreu, 26, is a power-hitting, right-handed first baseman who will soon hit the international free-agent market.
The Giants are reportedly to be most interested in Abreu, among teams that include the Red Sox, Pirates, Orioles and maybe even the Mets.
Of course signing a first basemen means Brandon Belt would have to move to left field. It’s a move that Belt says his willing to make and he’s shown ability in brief stints in the outfield.
Another question the Pence deal brings is how does it impact the efforts to re-sign Tim Lincecum.
Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Giants reported the Giants, having secured Pence, have moved their efforts to agreeing to a new deal with Lincecum.
If a deal can’t be reached before the start of the offseason, the Giants are expected to make a qualifying offer to Lincecum for one year, around $14 million, putting them in position for a compensatory first-round pick if he signs elsewhere.
It also decreases the chances of the Giants signing a free agent who has been offered a qualifying offer, which would cost the Giants’ first-round pick next June. The Giants likely will pick anywhere from No. 11 to 14.
If true, you can scratch Shin-Soo Choo, Jacob Ellsbury, Nelson Cruz and maybe even Ervin Santana from your wish list.