MOP up: No-Go on Hunter Pence


Sep 29, 2013; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Mariners manager Eric Wedge (22) after the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Oakland Athletics at Safeco Field. Oakland defeated Seattle 9-0. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

If you have ever been a teenager or a college student you have likely been to a party. Maybe you’ve even hosted a party. And when you host, you fell all awesome and superior because it is your house everyone is enjoying.

However, come the following morning (or afternoon depending on how long you sleep) you have to do some serious clean-up. That is what the Mariners have to do this offseason, highlighted by my MOP campaign.

Unfortunately, sometimes there is no chance for a MOP even before it happens. (I know the analogy breaks down at this point, but bear with me).

I wrote extensively as to why I thought the Mariners should sign Hunter Pence this offseason. He would slot nicely into right field, providing some power and some professionalism at the plate. I wanted to give him a 3 or 4 year deal with no more than $14 million a season.

But (yay!!) he has already been resigned by the Giants. I guess he so badly wanted to avoid even being on the Mariners radar that he didn’t allow himself a minute on the free agent market.

Obviously I am sad that Pence will not be available for the M’s to make an offer. I spent so much time writing that MOP post it seemed only necessary the Mariners sign him to make me look smart and psychic and important. Damn you Giants.

Let’s stop for a minute though. Allow me to get off my selfish high-horse and say a few things about why it’s ok Pence has already been signed.

First and foremost, the Giants gave him a 5 year/$90 million contract extension. That is a boatload of money for a solid offensive corner outfielder on the wrong side of 30. I would chew out Jack Z if he gave someone like Pence that kind of money. If my math is correct, $90 million over 5 years is $18 million a year. That is a lot of money for a guy like Pence. Think of it like this, is Pence worth 2/3 the amount King Felix is to the Mariners? I don’t think so. According to FanGraphs his WAR this season was 5.4, which is 4th among free agents behind Robinson Cano, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Shin-Soo Choo. 5th is Juan Uribe.

So in the realm of this free agent class, Pence is pretty high up there.

But I still don’t think he would have been worth that kind of money to the Mariners.

Also, to critique myself (ahh!!!) and my previous MOP post, Pence is not a good defensive outfielder. And the Mariners sucked at defense this year. So maybe in the end it is better? It’s hard to know now, and it may not be knowable until the end of next season.

People were mad when the Mariners didn’t give Josh Hamilton the offer he “deserved” last offseason. Is anyone complaining now? Didn’t think so.

Just keep tabs on Pence, and by the end of next season we can either praise the Giants for saving us from ourselves, or we can chide them for taking away what we needed most.

Either way– they were almost as bad as the Mariners were this year. And in a schadefreude kind of way, that is comforting to me.