Giants add Pence, send three to Phillies

Schierholtz, two Minor Leaguers dealt to Philadelphia for two-time All-Star outfielder

July 31st, 2012

SAN FRANCISCO -- Obtaining the potential offensive force they desperately sought, the Giants acquired right fielder Hunter Pence and cash from the Philadelphia Phillies hours before Tuesday's non-waiver Trade Deadline. They sent three players -- right fielder Nate Schierholtz, catching prospect Tommy Joseph and Minor League right-hander Seth Rosin -- to Philly.

The Giants not only were swept by the division rivals Dodgers this past week, they watched as the Dodgers picked up impact hitters in Hanley Ramirez last week and Pence's former Phillies teammate outfielder Shane Victorino on Tuesday. The Giants needed Tuesday's 4-1 win against the Mets and the Dodgers' 8-2 loss to the D-backs to regain sole possession of first place in the National League West.

So the Giants knew they'd have to keep pace with the Dodgers' roster reconstruction.

"The three games against the Dodgers weren't pretty. We kind of took that personally," Giants general manager Brian Sabean said. "We were hoping we could use something from the outside like they did. And now, after going through the five-game losing streak and seeing we need a lift and need to hang in there until we get everybody back, I'm glad we were able to make a move.

"In some ways, it is a reaction to not only playing them and getting swept, but also knowing to a point they were going to be extremely active. You didn't want them to be able to outdistance you, based on personnel moves that you didn't pursue."

Sabean added that the daily sellouts at AT&T Park force management to "answer to a higher calling." Said Sabean: "These people have really supported this ballclub, and there are high expectations."

Pence, 29, hit .271 with 17 home runs and 59 RBIs in 101 games this year with Philadelphia. His homer total considerably exceeds that of any Giant -- Buster Posey has a club-high 13 -- and his RBI total fits between Posey's 61 and Melky Cabrera's 52.

"It's going to be a fun ride being a part of a team on top of the division," Pence said. "In this [NL] West division, it looks like it's going to be a pretty tight race."

The Giants need Pence, a right-handed batter with a noticeably effervescent attitude, to help improve a struggling offense that has offset the team's typically solid pitching. San Francisco scored three runs or fewer in 12 of its previous 18 home games entering Tuesday, recently endured a stretch of 22 consecutive scoreless innings and was batting .231 overall with runners in scoring position, third worst in the Major Leagues. Pence owns a .291 lifetime batting average with runners in scoring position.

"I'm definitely excited," Posey said of Pence's acquisition. "He's a dynamic player who will help us, not only with his offensive production, but the energy that he brings."

For his career, Pence owns a .290 batting average with 131 homers and 471 RBIs, a .342 on-base percentage and a .481 slugging percentage. The six-year veteran has excelled in his appearances at AT&T Park, hitting .329 (25-for-76) with five homers and 10 RBIs. He arrived to AT&T Park shortly after Tuesday's game.

"It's a great place to play," Pence said. "It's pretty intense out there and it's a beautiful stadium. Obviously, the team is in the race right now, what more can you ask for?"

Pence sent the following Twitter message: "Thank you Philadelphia for all your support and passion. Excited to see what awaits me in San Francisco!"

Manager Bruce Bochy said that Pence will bat fifth until Pablo Sandoval's activated from the disabled list.

"The fans are going to love him," Bochy said. "He's all-out, all the time."

As always, economics were a factor. Pence, a two-time All-Star who was dealt from Houston to Philadelphia before last year's Deadline, earns $10.4 million this season and will be eligible for salary arbitration next year. That will guarantee Pence a huge pay hike. But Sabean indicated that the Giants can absorb it, as well as other likely salary increases. This includes the raise that the .353-hitting Cabrera will command as a potential free agent coming off an All-Star season.

Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum, Barry Zito, Ryan Vogelsong and Sandoval will receive a combined $14.5 million in raises. But the Giants can shed as much as $24 million in salaries, which is the sum of the final contractual years for potential free agents Aubrey Huff, Freddy Sanchez, Jeremy Affeldt and Angel Pagan.

"I'm sure every one is curious if we have enough [payroll] room after Pence, and we do," Sabean said.

San Francisco also pursued relief pitching before the Deadline passed. Sabean said that the Giants fell short on an opportunity to obtain "a difference-maker," possibly Kansas City's Jonathan Broxton. "We'll see what happens with waiver claims," Sabean said, indicating that the Giants will continue to eye available relievers.

Now that the non-waiver Trade Deadline has passed, deals involving players on the 40-man roster cannot be made unless the players already have cleared waivers. In other words, the player must be offered to the other teams in reverse order of the standings, and if he is claimed by one of the teams, he cannot be traded. The club that placed the player on waivers can either withdraw the request and keep the player, or let the player go to the claiming team, which would then have the rights to the player.

Obtaining Pence virtually necessitated trading Schierholtz. For years, Schierholtz appeared on the brink of establishing himself as an everyday player. But various factors -- injuries, an untimely slump, Bochy's preferences at the time -- prevented Schierholtz from becoming entrenched.

"I was just looking for an opportunity to prove that I can play every day, and I didn't get the feeling I was going to get it in San Francisco all these years," said Schierholtz, 28.

Schierholtz finished his Giants tenure with a .270 batting average, 23 homers and 119 RBIs in 503 games after he reached the Majors in 2007. This year, he compiled a .257 average with five homers and 17 RBIs in 77 games. His final act as a Giant was lining a run-scoring single in Monday night's 10th inning as the Giants lost to the Mets, 8-7. He also recorded the Giants' only multiple-homer efforts of the season, April 11 at Colorado and July 22 at Philadelphia.

A second-round selection in the 2003 First-Year Player Draft, Schierholtz rooted for the Giants growing up across the bay from San Francisco.

"It's an emotional day for me," Schierholtz said. "I'm going to miss San Francisco. I'm going to miss being a Giant, all my teammates and the fans and all the great memories here that we had, especially winning the World Series in 2010. It's tough leaving, but I'm definitely looking forward to my opportunity in Philadelphia."

Joseph, 21, has shown considerable power potential since the Giants drafted him in the second round in 2009 from Horizon High School in Scottsdale, Ariz. But the Giants reluctantly deemed him expendable, due mainly to the organization's perceived catching depth. Not only do they have Posey and promising switch-hitter Hector Sanchez in San Francisco, but they also have Andrew Susac, last year's second-round draftee, at high-Class A San Jose.

"We have a luxury that a lot of organizations don't," Sabean said.

Joseph amassed 16 homers and 68 RBIs while batting .236 with lower-Class A Augusta in 2010, and followed that by hitting .270 with 22 homers and 95 RBIs last year with San Jose. This year at Double-A Richmond, Joseph endured concussion symptoms after being hit by a batter's backswing and was sidelined for almost two weeks before returning to the Flying Squirrels' lineup in late May. He hit .260 with eight homers and 38 RBIs in 80 games for the Flying Squirrels and excelled in the Sirius XM All-Star Futures Game earlier this month. He lined a tiebreaking RBI double and drew a walk in two plate appearances for the U.S. squad, besides demonstrating his improved defensive prowess by throwing out a baserunner who tried to advance on a pitch in the dirt.

Rosin, a non-roster invitee to Spring Training this year, went 2-1 with a 4.31 ERA and 10 saves in 34 games, including five starts, for San Jose this season. The 23-year-old was San Francisco's fourth-round pick in the 2010 Draft.