The realignment talk of a couple of months ago has largely died down and it isn’t likely to be part of the new collective bargaining agreement this winter, but Zach Levine reports that it’s still being discussed, with the Astros the most likely candidate for shuffling.
Of particular interest is Levine’s breakdown of the pros and cons of all of the potential moves. Or, at the very least, the potential moves which have been floated in recent months, including Astros-to-the-AL, Astros-to-the-NL West and some other team like the Diamondbacks to the AL and doing nothing. It’s a pretty thorough handling of it all.
Most of the drawbacks mentioned, though, are sort of soft drawbacks. As in, I know that people get worked up about them, but they’re merely hangups, not concrete obstacles. Stuff like rivalry implications (do we really care?) and constant interleague play (again, do we really care?).
It’s a back burner issue now, but it will bubble up again sometime in the next few months, so arm yourself with knowledge now.
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.