Friend of HardballTalk Jonah Keri has a book coming out about the Tampa Bay Rays soon. It’s called “The Extra 2%: How Wall Street Strategies Took a Major League Baseball Team from Worst to First.” I’ve seen parts of it and what I’ve seen is excellent.
Though it won’t be available to the general public for a little while — you can pre-order here — you too can see parts of it now, as Jonah has a free preview up, including Mark Cuban’s foreword and the prologue. I haven’t read the foreward yet. I kind of hope Cuban goes nuts on Jonah like he’s a ref or something and then offers a passive-aggressive endorsement of the book like he does to the NBA on his blog. That would be cool.
I don’t give a ton of plugs out around here, but this is a worthy one. Jonah is an excellent writer and I think it’s a book that’s really going to advance our understanding of how baseball teams — particularly low-revenue baseball teams — go about their business. So please, check it out.
Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area hints that the Giants may be done with outfielder Hunter Pence. It’s not clear just how seriously the club is contemplating such a decision, but there are six days remaining on Pence’s rehab assignment, at which point they’ll be able to recall him, reassign him to the minors or release him.
The 35-year-old outfielder has struggled to make a full recovery after spraining his right thumb during the first week of the season. Pence bounced back for a 17-game run with the Giants in April, during which he slashed a meager .172/.197/.190 with one double and one stolen base in 61 plate appearances, but was eventually placed on the disabled list with recurring soreness in his finger. He currently sports a promising .318/.359/.388 batting line with four extra-base hits (including a grand slam) over 92 PA in Triple-A Sacramento.
Despite his recent resurgence in Triple-A, the Giants may not need the additional outfield depth just yet. Mac Williamson, who was recalled in the wake of Pence’s DL assignment, has already cemented the starting role in left field and is off to a strong start at the plate as well. Of course, if the Giants decide to say a premature goodbye to their veteran outfielder (who, it should be said, helped them to two World Series championships over the last seven seasons), it’ll cost them the remaining balance on his $18.5 million salary for 2018.