Hunter Pence gets $13.8 million to avoid arbitration with Giants

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Shortly after the season ended there was some speculation that the Giants would non-tender Hunter Pence rather than pay him a big salary via arbitration following a down year.

General manager Brian Sabean quickly shot that notion down, making it clear he wanted Pence back in 2013, and now we see the price tag: Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports that Pence and the Giants have avoided arbitration with a one-year, $13.8 million deal.

That means the Giants feared he’d get more than that via an actual arbitration hearing and as crazy as that sounds it was very possible considering Pence was paid $10.4 million last season and … well, that’s just how arbitration works.

Of course, there was nothing forcing the Giants to keep Pence after he hit just .253 with a .319 on-base percentage and .425 slugging percentage in 160 games last year and it’s hard to imagine him getting $13.8 million per season on the open market. San Francisco’s commitment is only one season, which is a key factor, but even if he bounces back to pre-2012 production (.293 AVG, .825 OPS from 2009-2011) it’s still debatable if Pence is worth that money. He’ll be a free agent next offseason.

The Braves will be serving some insane food this season

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Lots of teams have crazy concession items and lots of them will circulate photos of the more gonzo ones in the coming week leading up to the baseball season. The Braves, however, have been one of the more aggressive players in the gimmick concession item game in recent years, and they just sent around a release talking about some of the stuff they, and their concessionaire, Delaware North, will be serving at their new ballpark, Sun Trust Park, in 2017.

Among them:a blackened catfish po boy, which is a blackened 6-ounce filet of catfish cut up among three tacos, with a cajun remoulade. Some BBQ beef brisket sliders. A double burger. An ice cream bar. They’re also going to have a regionally-inspired thing called “The Taste of Braves Country,” showcasing southern cooking from Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama. Which they’re calling “Braves Country.” Accurate enough, I guess, even if some of us are old enough to remember when they aspired to be a national team. Alas.

The big item, though, is this one:

It’s called the “Tomahawk Chop” sandwich. It’s a fried pork chop with collard green slaw and white BBQ sauce. It serves four and costs $26. I’m guessing it tastes fantastic, but I think the name is pretty cringeworthy for the same reason the cheer which gives it its name is. And, given the dynamics of the Braves move to their new stadium, the choice of BBQ sauce is . . . amusing? I dunno.

Anyway, enjoy, Braves fans.

Max Scherzer will not be ready for Opening Day

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Ten days ago Nationals ace Max Scherzer said he’d be ready for the start of the regular season. “I’m gonna do it,” Scherzer said.

[Ron Howard from “Arrested Development” voice] — No, he’s not:

Nationals manager Dusty Baker said that Max Scherzer is not on track to be the team’s opening day starter, and will most likely open the season as the third pitcher in the rotation.

He’s still projected to make it to the opening rotation, taking the hill, most likely, on Thursday April 6 against the Marlins. At least if the schedule doesn’t slip any more.

Scherzer, as you probably know, has a stress fracture in the knuckle of his right ring finger, which has messed with his preparation and has caused him to alter his grip a bit. As of now Stephen Strasburg will get the Opening Day nod.