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Reflecting on Giants trade success: Hunter Pence

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The Giants are not notoriously known for engaging in trades. They don’t like trading away their prospects, and prefer to build their own team or sign pieces to fill in until their own homegrown players are ready to take over. At least that’s the mantra they’ve stuck with in their recent success.

In 2010, they were known for building a successful homegrown rotation that resulted in their first championship title in 56 years. In 2014, they were known for building a successful homegrown infield to help lead them to their third title in five years. Now, entering the 2016 season, the Giants boast one of the best infields in all of baseball, and they’re all homegrown.

They aren’t known for having the best farm system in baseball, but yet they somehow continue to develop talented players who are able to contribute at the major league level. When they are not able to develop the right piece, they find a taker in another organization who is willing to trade a quality player in return. And usually, the player the Giants have received in return have proven to be golden. 

Over the next several months, we’ll take a look at recent trades the Giants have made, and evaluate the success each player has had for their respective organization. First, we’ll start with one of the biggest trades in recent Giants history.

July 31, 2012: Giants acquire Hunter Pence from Philadelphia Phillies for Nate Schierholtz, Tommy Joseph and Seth Rosin.

The Giants desperately needed some offensive help in their surge for their second championship title. They had given Schierholtz plenty of opportunities, but manager Bruce Bochy had run out of patience. 

At the time of the trade, the Phillies were in last place and looking to sell. But Pence was having a fine season in Philly hitting .271 with 17 home runs and 59 RBIs in 101 games. The type of production certainly welcomed by an offensive hungry team. 

Meanwhile, Schierholtz had hit just .259 with five home runs and 17 RBIs in 77 games. Joseph was considered one of their better prospects in the system, but was a catcher- which meant he was expandable because they have a guy named Buster Posey. He showed power, and in 2012 hit .260 with eight homers and 38 RBIs in 80 games for the AA team.

Following the trade, Pence went on to .219 with seven home runs and 45 RBI’s. Not the type of production Giants fans were hoping for, but Pence lived up to expectations come playoff time.

When the Giants faced elimination down two games to none in the NLDS, Pence rallied the troops and served as a strong clubhouse leader. His pregame speeches is what many players deem their strong motivation to come out from behind. They won three in a row to go to the NLCS.

In the NLCS, the Giants were once again down three games to none. Again, Pence showed his clubhouse leadership and rallied the troops in a strong effort which helped them win four games in a row and head to the World Series, where they never lost a game and were crowned World Series champions.

Pence instantly became and still is, a fan favorite in San Francisco. Following the 2013 season, he resigned with the Giants for five more seasons for a fairly modest $90 million. 

Though 2015 was an injury riddled year, Pence has hit a combined 47 home runs from 2013-2014, where he put up a 3.8 and 3.7 WAR in those respective seasons.

Schierholtz, meanwhile, had a breakout year in 2013 as a Chicago Cub after being designated for assignment as a Phillie. In 2013, Schierholtz hit .251 with 21 home runs, a sign of his power that many predicted he had. Unfortunately, Schierholtz was never able to duplicate his success, and is currently fighting for backup spot with the Detroit Tigers this spring.

Joseph, meanwhile, has yet to develop into a quality player mainly due to nagging injuries. He has sustained his fair share of concussions, which have caused him to shift over to first base. Still, Joseph has yet to play in more than 60 games in a regular season, and has not made it past AAA. 

Rosin made his Major League debut in 2014 with the Texas Rangers, but has not shown much in his brief stints with the big league club.





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Kunaal Madhavan

Kunaal loves talking baseball. In his spare time, he is an active volunteer assisting in youth camps for some of the top athletes in the Bay Area.


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