Giants Land 2-Time All-Star Hunter Pence From Phillies
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Hunter Pence hopes this sequel has a better ending.
The Philadelphia Phillies traded the two-time All-Star right fielder to the San Francisco Giants for three players on Tuesday. It’s the second time in two years Pence went from last place to first place right before the non-waiver trade deadline.
The Phillies got outfielder Nate Schierholtz, minor league catcher Tommy Joseph and minor league right-handed pitcher Seth Rosin.
“Thank you Philadelphia for all your support and passion. Excited to see what awaits me in San Francisco!” Pence wrote on Twitter.
Earlier, the cost-cutting Phillies sent two-time All-Star center fielder Shane Victorino to Los Angeles for two pitchers.
Pence is batting .271 with 17 homers and 59 RBIs this season. He fills a major need for the Giants, giving them a right-handed hitter with power.
“He’s a dynamic player,” Giants catcher Buster Posey said. “He’s not only going to help us with his bat, but just with the energy he brings.”
Philadelphia acquired Pence from Houston on July 29 last year for the same reason San Francisco wanted him. The Phillies were desperate for a right-handed power hitter to bat fifth behind Chase Utley and Ryan Howard. Pence fit the description perfectly. He batted .324 with 11 homers and 35 RBIs in only 54 games for Philadelphia.
The Phillies won a franchise-record 102 games and captured their fifth straight NL East title, but lost to St. Louis in the NL division series.
Now they rebuild and Pence gets another chance at the postseason.
“I don’t think anyone really anticipated the season that’s gone on,” Pence said in Washington after the trade. “It was the perfect storm of injuries and things didn’t go right for us, so that’s the way the business of the game is and you have to understand that.
“Everything is understood. The Phillies are going in a different direction. We had a great run at it. Now I’m going a different way.”
Pence will help replace the injured Pablo Sandoval in the lineup and presumably bat fifth behind Melky Cabrera and Posey. Sandoval was placed on the disabled list last weekend with a hamstring strain.
“He gives us another bat in the heart of the order and something we need. It’s always great to have a change and bring somebody like Hunter Pence’s caliber in,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “I got a chance to spend some time around him at the All-Star game last year. Great guy. Fun to watch. Fans are going to love him. He’s around all the time.
“He loves the game and it shows.”
Schierholtz is hitting .257 with five homers and 17 RBIs in 77 games. The left-handed hitting right fielder likely will get more playing time in Philadelphia the rest of this season. He hit .270 with 23 homers and 119 RBIs in 503 games over parts of six seasons in San Francisco. Schierholtz was 2 for 12 in the 2010 postseason when the Giants upset the Phillies in the NLCS and beat Texas in the World Series.
Joseph was San Francisco’s No. 2 ranked prospect by Baseball America. He’s hitting .260 with eight homers and 38 RBIs in 80 games for Double-A Richmond. Rosin was 2-1 with 10 saves and a 4.31 ERA in 34 games (five starts) for Single-A San Jose.
Pence is making $10.4 million this season and stands to get a raise in arbitration next year. He was an instant hit with Phillies fan upon arriving in Philadelphia last year, and the team still plans to give out his bobblehead on Aug. 21.
The 29-year-old has a strange way of doing things, and he looks awkward because he has long arms, long legs and runs oddly. But he had plenty of success no matter how weird he looked doing it.
“He is the most unique player that I’ve ever been around and kind of different,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said before a game against the Nationals. “And I mean that in a good way. I do not mean that in a bad way at all. This guy is so is aggressive. He doesn’t cut down nothing on his swing. He’s just railing away. But the biggest part about him, though, is he can hit.”
Pence has a career .290 average with 131 homers and 471 RBIs in six seasons with the Astros and Phillies. Though he struggled defensively in Philadelphia, his 61 outfield assists since 2008 are second in the majors.
“It was important for us to have a right-handed hitter,” Giants general manager Brian Sabean said. “We’ve been on him for two years and we know what he could do here.”
Pence led the Phillies in hits (108), homers, RBIs, runs scored (59), total bases (178) and walks (37).
“I am surprised,” Pence said. “You understand the circumstance.”