The Philadelphia Phillies spent most of July openly shopping Cole Hamels, Shane Victorino, and Joe Blanton, but now reports are circulating that the team nearly had a deal in place that would have shipped outfielder Hunter Pence to the San Francisco Giants.
This would be the second straight season that the Giants acquired a big-name outfielder at the trade deadline, as they landed Carlos Beltran last year before letting him walk following the season in free agency. The Phillies have control over Pence through the 2013 season, so trading him now is not essential because they won’t have to worry about re-signing him in the offseason. Pence still hasn’t hit free agency, so his deal next year will go through arbitration, and he will likely get something around $14 million.
Pence is hitting .271 with 17 home runs and 59 RBIs this season, and he is on pace for a career-high in home runs. Pence is a .290 career hitter and he has averaged 23 home runs and 12 steals per season since debuting in the major leagues back in 2007. Pence is still just 29 years old and he will likely command a five-year deal worth around $75-80 million when he hits free agency in 14 months, but if the Giants trade for him now, they will have him for the rest of 2012 plus all of 2013 before they have to worry about re-signing him or letting him walk.
Members of the Giants’ staff have said no such deal was in place for Pence, but seeing as there are fewer than 24 hours remaining before the trade deadline ends and the Phillies are openly shopping Pence, they may end up trading the player they acquired just about a year ago today.