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That Much Cabbage Will Buy A Lot Of Kale

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You've had the weekend to digest the Hunter Pence extension: five years, $90 million, full no-trade clause. When Pence is 35 years old in 2018 he'll (probably) be patrolling right field and (probably) expected to be a middle-of-the-order producer for the Giants. 

Chew on that real slow, like an under-steamed kale leaf. Also, check this out:

Age Tm Lg G PA HR RBI SB CS OBP SLG OPS OPS+
35 SFG NL 122 458 24 96 5 1 .419 .606 1.025 163
Generated 9/28/2013.

That was a guy with chronically bad knees. Pence's knees are made of chitin and emerge from the soil every 17 years to breed. I don't know if that's good or bad. The point is, kinda old right fielders who were gimpy long before coming to the Giants can do well in our spacious ballyard, or well enough to make you go, damn, I wouldn't mind a team full of 35-year-old Ellis Burkses right about now. 

The Pence contract is probably not going to end up a good deal for the Giants. Let me rephrase: Beware 2017 and 2018, and perhaps a couple of the years between now and then. Hunter Pence might have sexier knees than Ellis Burks, but let's not fool ourselves into thinking his 2012 was a bizarre aberration. I will say in his favor, though, that if he can keep up the excellent base-running and out-fielding, he'll smooth out the inevitable ups and downs at the plate.

So we can squint into the distance, and we can grumble about the Giants acting the fool again. Unlike the Zito and Rowand contracts, however, it was a deal the Giants had no choice but to make. Could they have squeezed a few more mil, even shaved a year from the contract, as everyone anxiously watched the clock for the weekend, and apparently the deadline, to expire? It doesn't really matter. The Giants had holes to fill this winter -- and still do -- and they weren't going to fill them with a barrelful of Kieschgueros or a shockingly re-emergent Gary Brown. Pence had all the leverage.

And however much you think the Giants overpaid for Pence -- $15 million? $20 million? -- remember they just drew more than 3 million fans for the 12th time in 14 years, the Buster Posey jersey is one of the league's best-sellers, TV contract, blah blah blah. They can afford an overpay. Also, think of it this way: they could end up saving that much, and more, when the young pitchers (Crick, Escobar, etc.) they don't have to trade for an outfielder this winter step into the rotation in 2015 or 2016.

I really don't like that no-trade clause, though. Ugh.

More thoughts from the weekend:

- Insert Pence's walk-off hit into the list of plays of the year. Not just because it was a walk-off, but because it capped a big comeback in front of a big crowd that stuck around with a lot of class to salute Barry Zito. Great finish to a great day.

- Frankie Pegs! Soon enough, the off-season shouting about 5th outfielders will rage -- rage, I tell you! -- and his name isn't likely to come up much. But his first major league tater should give Pegueristas a ray of hope. Then again, Juan Perez hit his first major league homer Friday night, and also collected his seventh and eighth outfield assists this weekend.

- I wonder if players around the league watched the Zito send-off and made a mental note: If that chalupa can get that ovation for a few bright moments amid seven years of dreary clock-punching, it must be a great place to play. Siri, tell my agent to call Brian Sabean! Probably didn't matter, but strong work, anyway, Giants fans.

- By skipping Madison Bumgarner and then Matt Cain, the management put a capper on their commitment to slow things down in September. Scutaro, Posey, Bumgarner and Cain all needed to cool their heels, and by and large they did.

- Admit it. Just once this weekend, as Heath Hembree finished up a quietly spectacular month, you thought he might be good enough to be the closer in 2014. Which means Sergio Romo could be... and then you pressed a hot pizza stone to your forehead until you promised to stop thinking such sacrilegious things. Serves you right, you bastard. How dare you.


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