We’ve heard all sorts of chatter about the Phillies possibly moving impending free agents Cole Hamels or Shane Victorino if GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. decides to become a seller before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, but they aren’t the only players drawing interest from opposing general managers.
ESPN’s Buster Olney reported last night that Reds are among the teams who have expressed interest in outfielder Juan Pierre. Entering today’s action, Reds leadoff hitters rank dead-last in the majors this season in batting average (.201), on-base percentage (.246) and OPS (.562), so GM Walt Jocketty is keeping the phone lines open for an upgrade.
Pierre joined the Phillies on a minor league deal over the winter and is hitting .312/.349/.380 with one home run, 17 RBI and a .730 OPS through 72 games played this season. The 34-year-old outfielder is currently tied for fourth in the majors with 20 stolen bases. If acquired by the Reds, he would likely be used as part of an outfield rotation with Drew Stubbs, Ryan Ludwick and Chris Heisey.
The Giants placed outfielder Hunter Pence on the 10-day disabled list with a right thumb sprain, per an official announcement on Friday. Pence initially sustained the injury during the club’s home opener on April 3, when he dove to intercept a line drive double from Robinson Cano and jammed his thumb. Weeks of playing through the pain hasn’t worked, so he’ll take a breather while the Giants give outfielder Mac Williamson a chance to start in left after getting called up from Triple-A Fresno.
Pence, 35, wouldn’t pin his recent struggles on his injury, but it’s clear that he’s having difficulty finding his footing this year. He slashed a meager .172/.197/.190 through 61 plate appearances in 2018, collecting just one extra-base hit and two walks during the Giants’ dismal 7-11 stretch. While it’s far too early in the season to make any final judgments, it doesn’t look like the veteran outfielder will be replicating the .275+ average, 4.0+ fWAR totals of years past (at least, not anytime soon).
Williamson, meanwhile, has gotten off to a hot start in Triple-A. Prior to his call-up this weekend, the 27-year-old batted an incredible .487/.600/1.026 with six home runs and a 1.626 OPS through his first 50 PA. A hot Triple-A bat doesn’t always survive the transition to the majors, but the Giants will use all the help they can get — especially as they take on the AL West-leading Angels this weekend.