According to a tweet from Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, the Cincinnati Reds have inquired on the availability of San Francisco right fielder Hunter Pence.
#reds have inquired on hunter pence. seek a righty hitter. doesnt look like a match so far.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) July 29, 2013
Think about this for a sec. Heyman even states it doesn’t appear to be a match. Now, add this from what Heyman says in a post on the CBS Sports website:
One reason the ask is high on both players (Pence and Tim Lincecum), sources say, is that the Giants plan to make a qualifying offer to both after the year, which would bring them a coveted draft choice assuming neither player takes the offer. The qualifying offer is expected to be slightly higher than the $13.3 million it was last year.
That’s obviously a risk the Giants are willing to take. Might not be a bad one either.
It is odd that Pence’s name is being mentioned. The Reds have Shin-Soo Choo, a “converted” right fielder playing center, and Jay Bruce in right. Plus, Ryan Ludwick is on rehab assignment. While there’s no guarantee about Ludwick’s production once he returns, this is still somewhat mind-boggling on two fronts.
Reds GM Walt Jocketty did recently say he didn’t think the Reds would be active. Of course, that could be Walt displaying his poker face, too.
The other is that Pence would likely be the guy to play left field, a position he has never played in the majors. Of the 992 games in which Pence has played, he has been positioned in right field for 898 of those. The rest come as a center fielder.
The Twitter response from Reds fans has been as you would expect. Some for, some against.
FWIW, I’ve always liked the way Pence has played the game. Sure, he looks awkward and doesn’t give the appearance of being extremely athletic, but the results are certainly there. He didn’t fare well statistically after being dealt to San Francisco last season. He also didn’t deliver spectacular stats in the 2012 postseason as a whole, but you cannot deny that he was a driving force in the Giants World Series win.