TODAY: Pence’s surgery has been scheduled for Thursday, the Giants told reporters (including Alex Pavlovic).
FRIDAY: Giants outfielder Hunter Pence is expected to require surgery for a fully torn hamstring, Alex Pavlovic of CSNBayArea.com was among those to report. He’ll likely miss at least two months after undergoing the procedure, but the veteran tells Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle that it may be longer (Twitter links).
For now, the expectation is that the team will look to internal options to step in with Pence (and also Angel Pagan) sidelined. But manager Bruce Bochy says that he’s already had discussions with GM Bobby Evans about possible trade targets.
The diagnosis does seem to suggest that San Francisco will be shopping for a corner outfielder. Some might have suggested that was already a reasonable position to pursue an upgrade. And with Pence likely out until after the trade deadline, the club may not have the luxury of just waiting to see how he bounces back.
Pence is among the organization’s best and most respected players, and the loss will tell regardless of what the team can do to replace his production. Barring a major trade, though, there’s little chance that San Francisco will find anything close to what Pence provides from its fill-ins. Over his 208 plate appearances on the year, the 33-year-old owns a .298/.375/.486 batting line with seven home runs.
Fortunately, the Giants do have several well-regarded young players on hand to fill in. Mac Williamson and Jarrett Parker are both active and figure to get a legitimate opportunity at the major league level for the first time after showing real promise in the upper minors. The club can also turn to utilityman Kelby Tomlinson and utilize first baseman Brandon Belt in the corner outfield.
Despite those options, it will be interesting to watch what the Giants aim to accomplish in the summer trade market. Several corner outfielders appeared in the first iteration of MLBTR’s Top 10 Trade Candidates series, including Jay Bruce of the Reds and Ryan Braun of the Brewers. Any number of other players could join them over the months to come, with San Francisco’s options likely ranging from platoon pieces to long-term assets.