In an effort to not only keep up with the division rival Dodgers but also improve an inept offense, the Giants acquired All-Star right fielder Hunter Pence, in exchange for Nate Schierholtz, Tommy Joseph, and Seth Rosin.
Pence tends to float between both sides of the spectrum, often viewed as an overrated and underappreciated player. And outside of two really fluky, high-BABIP-driven offensive seasons (2007 and 2011) – hence the overrated part – he’s been a solid, consistent offensive performer that tends to hit about 10% better than the league average, the type of bat that adds depth to a lineup, certainly not one that greatly impacts either.
Only 29-years-old, Pence is starting to show some signs of age; he’s no longer a stolen base threat, though he was never really a great base runner, and his defensive play is only subtracting value now from his overall production now. With that being said, he should still be worth about one win the rest of the season.
But the problem for the Giants is the player Pence will be replacing everyday – Gregor Blanco – has been more valuable so far this season (1.9 to 1.3 fWAR). Blanco’s not quite the hitter Pence is, but he’s not that far from it either, and plays above-average defense. For San Francisco to really take advantage of this trade they would need to play Blanco in center where he would be an upgrade over Angel Pagan and keep Pence in right.
Heading back the other way are Schierholtz, a very good fourth outfielder, Joseph, a 21-year-old catcher, and Rosin, a right-handed reliever with promising peripherals in High-A.
Schierholtz, simply, is a solid league average hitter with matching defensive skills in right field. He’s not flashy, nor does he have one standout tool, but he does do everything well enough to provide value to a major league team. At his best he’s a solid two-win player.
Joseph’s an offensive-minded catcher with some pretty widespread opinions among the scouting community. Statistically, there’s a lot to like about the 20-year-old. After showing some well below-average walk rates his first two seasons – 5.5% and 5.2% – that total has spiked this year, to 7.5%. This, of course, comes as one of just three players to play the majority of the season under the age of 21 in the Eastern League. He also doesn’t strikeout a lot either, which is another positive for a power-hitting prospect. Right now, he profiles as a solid .250/.320/.440 hitter with 20 homerun potential, premium production from the catching position.
The final player in the deal is Rosin, a 6-foot-6, 250 pound reliever. He’s show some surprisingly low walk rates for a tall pitcher – 2.8 BB/9 in his career – to go along with more than a strikeout an inning, but that comes with a rather large caveat: he’s a former collegiate player pitching against far less polished players.
Overall, this is pretty close to market value for a player of Pence’s caliber. The problem being that the Giants were already getting similar production from the trio of Schierholtz, Blanco and Pagan. It’s more of a lateral move – albeit a very expensive one – for San Francisco.
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