I keep a note open on my work computer at all times. In it I jot down story ideas. Simple things. Not good ideas, per se. Certainly not substantive ideas. Just ideas.
The kinds of ideas that you think about and then, two minutes later you think, “what was I thinking about?” and never recover it. I write them down primarily so I don’t have to deal with that taste in my mouth of forgetting something without writing it down first, even if it wasn’t worth writing down in the first place.,
But I also keep the list of ideas so that, when I don’t have something I’m inspired to write, I can look back at some ideas, and choose a topic to run with.
One idea that’s been in my notes for a few weeks: What legacy players would you be most amused to see back in a San Francisco Giants jersey?
You know the type. The 2019 Pablo Sandovals of the world. Guys you have emotional attachments to, but who maybe probably aren’t that good, and since they’re mostly not young they’re probably not a great fit for Farhan Zaidi’s teams.
The goal of the idea was to talk about fun hypotheticals. Things that won’t happen. We’re about to deal with a not-good Giants team being shoved in our face (totally against our will, we did NOT turn that TV on, I have no idea how that got there) six days a week for six months. We have enough reality, and it ain’t great. This was supposed to be an exercise to talk about the things that won’t happen, but would be amusing if they did, because most of us are sentimental at some level.
You can probably see where I’m going with this.
I had three players in mind when I wrote that note. Three players who, - again, I cannot stress this enough - I didn’t think the Giants would have any level of interest in, despite being free agents.
The first was Matt Duffy. He had the best chance, I thought, because he’s young. Ha! Silly me. Enjoy Texas, my friend. May it be filled with many doubles and fat felines.
The Texas #Rangers sign veteran infielder Matt Duffy to minor-league contract worth $1 million and another $1.5 million in incentives if he's on their major-league roster. He'll be in their major-league spring training camp.— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) January 30, 2020
The second was Pablo Sandoval, which . . . welcome back, buddy.
Pablo Sandoval back to #SFGiants. 2M minors deal. Plus 750 incentives. Expected to make team assuming OK (had TJ surgery)— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) January 29, 2020
And the third was Hunter Pence. You might remember Hunter Pence for such hits as Unconventional Baseball Rah-Rah Speeches, and How To Hit a Ball Twice in One Swing, and I Put Coffee in My Coffee.
Of the three, Pence was the farthest out there. He was the one which . . . come on. We can all agree it isn’t happening.
#SFGiants brought back old SF hero Pablo Sandoval yesterday. Could there be another big reunion? Word is, they are among teams showing interest in their former star Hunter Pence— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) January 30, 2020
Well I’ll be damned.
On the surface, Pence doesn’t seem like a Zaidi guy. He’s entering his age-37 season, and the Giants are rebuilding. He doesn’t have much positional flexibility, and he only hits from one side of the plate.
In an era quickly becoming defined by versatility, Pence doesn’t offer a lot (except in terms of eccentricities, outfits, lovable personality traits, etc.).
On the other hand, Pence slashed .297/.358/.552 last year. For perspective on how big of a bounce-back year he had, his OPS in 2018 - his final Giants campaign - was .590.
His slugging percentage in 2019 was nearly as high as his OPS in 2018. Read that again. Seriously.
Pence’s wRC+ of 128 would have tied Mike Yastrzemski for the team’s lead last year. His OPS+ of 126 would have led the team.
If he can replicate that performance, for a Giants team in dire need of
outfield any type of production? Yeah, that would be great, and that’s before you get to the sentimentality.
And it appears that, while manager Gabe Kapler might have been an odd hiring, he shares one thing in common with his predecessor, Bruce Bochy: an emphasis on clubhouse energy.
You can make a case for Pence as a PH and very occasional matchup bat in LF vs LHPs, plus his energy. Simply put, Kapler loves surrounding himself with positive people. And it would be a bone to those season ticket holders who have made it known they want people to cheer for. https://t.co/LbD1G3aCYJ— Andrew Baggarly (@extrabaggs) January 30, 2020
Now, “showing interest” is a long ways away from “have a deal with.” It’s still most likely that we’re cheering for Pence from afar next year.
But it’s fun to think about. And apparently not just for the sake of hypothetical articles.
Now, to see what Tim Lincecum is up to . . .