The Giants have officially acquired OF Hunter Pence from the Phillies for catching prospect Tommy Joseph, Nate Schierholtz and a lower-level minor-leaguer.
(Kudos to KPIX's Dennis O'Donnell for being on this many days ago.)
I'm assuming the Giants are assuming much of Pence's remaining $10.4M salary for this season, which would be a strong way for ownership to signal that immediate pennant contention is important enough to sacrifice some money for it.
Pence is arbitration-eligible next season, so therefore under Giants control, which gives them some options heading into 2013, depending on how 2012 goes.
Just right off the bat: This is a nice move by the Giants, made under deadline pressure while staring at the Dodgers, who got Hanley Ramirez last week and today picked up Shane Victorino in the Phillies' fire sale.
Obviously, the Giants needed a bat.
I thought Victorino was probably a better fit for them, as a top-order guy who can get on base in front of Melky Cabrera and Buster Posey (and would come at lower price than Pence), but getting Pence is no little thing.
— And if you're worried that Pence's power stats have been boosted by playing in Philly and Houston recently, it's certainly not borne out by the stats.
— Pence last 2 years: 12 HRs at home, 27 HRs on the road, including some very good numbers at AT&T Park.
Most importantly, the Giants didn't panic and give up OF Gary
This isn't as risky a deal -- though I understood the risk last year, you just can't keep doing those kinds of deal, year after year.
So the Giants (probably) upped the payroll by taking on money and refusing to include Brown -- and might have to keep it well above $130M if they want to retain both Pence and Melky Cabrera into the future.
Giving up Brown just to try to match the Dodgers would've been a panic move, in my view, and trade-deadline panic moves to match somebody else almost never are great ideas.
Look at that roster -- the Giants are going to need Brown, at a minimum salary -- to play CF and be at the top of the order, going into 2013 and beyond, just to balance the payroll and the line-up.
— By the way, Joseph is considered a very good prospect, but even if he projects to be an every-day catcher... well, the Giants have Posey and Hector Sanchez and some depth in the system at that position, so Joseph was not a mandatory keep for the Giants
Again: If this is mostly an add-money deal, then this is NOT a panic move.
This is just dipping into the Panda Hat reserves, which I didn't expect, but you know that money is there after all these sellouts and all that money pouring into the ballpark.
And this also fits my Giants are New Red Sox Theory -- well, they're trying to be the Red Sox at least economically.
You do have to spend money to make money, at some point. Especially with the Dodgers ready to go to the economic stratosphere. The goal for the Giants: Spend money more wisely than the Dodgers from here on. We'll see if Pence is the start of that.
As Yahoo's Jeff Passan said today, "the NL West is the new AL East, the Dodgers the new Yankees and the Giants new Red Sox."
OK, how does this affect the Giants' roster past 2012? First, let's repeat that this is a short-term deal seeking short-term results. The Giants hope Pence catalyzes the offense in the next two months and everything else is of secondary concern.
But there are secondary concerns, as always...
Yes, Giants have Aubrey Huff, Freddy Sanchez, the committed Aaron Rowand $$ and few others coming off books for 2013. Loose estimate: More than $30M coming off this off-season, some of that depending on what they do with Brian Wilson, who will be a free agent.
But the Giants also have about $10M in built-in raises coming to Matt Cain, Pablo Sandoval and Ryan Vogelsong, among others and they have to deal with Cabrera, possibly Angel Pagan and a few others, who are free agents they will or probably will want to keep.
They'd also probably want to do a long-term extension for Posey pretty soon, too. Which is another possible payroll bump for '13 & beyond.
So keeping Pence and Cabrera is going to be a very tight fit -- unless the Giants ownership knows that that payroll has to go well above $130M not just for now, but for eternity.