It seems Giants outfielder Hunter Pence has yet to fully resolve his future. As Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle writes, the veteran suggests he’s focused on appreciating the remainder of the 2018 season — the final campaign under his current contract. The 35-year-old indicates that he’s not yet sure of his outlook for 2019, but does tell Schulman that he “want[s] to play next year.” It certainly has not been Pence’s finest effort on the field, however, putting his future in doubt even if he prefers to give it another go. After struggling last year, Pence has fallen even further. Through 213 plate appearances, he owns only a .215/.254/.315 slash with three home runs. With his rough 2017 as a backdrop, it’s questionable at best that he’ll receive MLB offers this coming offseason.
Here’s more from the National League:
- The Mets anticipate that Tim Tebow will be back for a third season with the organization in 2019, as Tim Healey of Newsday reports. The former NFL QB has been sidelined since the middle of the summer owing to a broken hamate bone, but otherwise ended things on a high note with a strong run at the plate. Of course, his overall line — .273/.336/.399 with six home runs and 103 strikeouts in 298 plate appearances — was not overly impressive for a 31-year-old corner outfielder at Double-A. But it’s actually quite the accomplishment given how things appeared at the outset of the experiment, and it’ll be interesting to see how Tebow performs next year at Triple-A. “I’d be surprised if he didn’t want to continue,” said assistant GM John Ricco.
- Mets righty Zack Wheeler has had an incredibly exciting bounceback campaign, so much so that it may need to end early due to his accumulation of innings. As Aaron Bracy of the Associated Press writes (via Newsday), the club is considering putting Wheeler on ice the rest of the way rather than having him take back to the mound. Manager Mickey Callaway says it’s a matter of the Mets “want[ing] to make sure we’re taking care of the player.” Wheeler is now 99 innings past the 86 1/3 he compiled in 2017, a season in which he was still not at full health. With nothing left for Wheeler to prove or for the team to accomplish in the 2018 season, it stands to reason that caution is warranted. Wheeler, after all, now looks to be a key piece — or trade asset — after working to a 3.31 ERA with 8.8 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9.
- The Dodgers have their own pitching comeback tale of sorts, as southpaw Hyun-Jin Ryu has been impressive when he has been available. As Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports, the veteran hurler says he’s not taking anything for granted after several injury-riddled campaigns. Indeed, even after making 24 starts last year, he was unable to participate in the postseason. Through 70 1/3 frames over 13 outings in 2018, however, the lefty owns an excellent 2.18 ERA with 10.0 K/9 and 1.7 BB/9. He just throttled the Rockies in a key divisional tilt and now looks to be an important part of the late-season L.A. pitching mix. It’s opportune timing both for the team and the player. Ryu is slated to enter free agency this winter, where he’ll be a risky but intriguing option.