Coco Crisp’s agent, Steve Comte, told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle that the free agent center fielder “has made it clear that he would like to play for a team that is determined to compete and he’d also like to stay on the West Coast.”
As for potentially returning to Oakland, Comte speculated that general manager Billy Beane “and the owners just want to sit back and wait because of the stadium issue.”
Beane has hinted as much, indicating that it’s tough to increase payroll or make a multi-year commitment to free agents without knowing whether the ballpark in San Jose (and subsequent revenue increases) is a realistic option.
So instead of the possibly re-signing with the A’s the agent suggested that the Giants would be a good fit for Crisp, who led the league with 49 stolen bases but hit just .264 with eight homers and a .693 OPS that’s his worst mark since 2003.
Hunter Pence was thought to be on his way to retirement after a lackluster 2018 season with the Giants. As he entered his mid-30’s, Pence spent a considerable amount of time on the injured list, playing in 389 out of 648 possible regular season games with the Giants from 2015-18.
Pence, however, kept his career going, inking a minor league deal with the Rangers in February. He performed very well in spring training, earning a spot on the Opening Day roster. Pence hasn’t stopped hitting.
Entering Monday night’s game against the Mariners, Pence was batting .299/.358/.619 with eight home runs and 28 RBI in 109 plate appearances, mostly as a DH. Statcast agrees that Pence has been mashing the ball. He has an average exit velocity of 93.3 MPH this season, which would obliterate his marks in each of the previous four seasons since Statcast became a thing. His career average exit velocity is 89.8 MPH. He has “barreled” the ball 10.4 percent of the time, well above his 6.2 percent average.
What Pence did to a baseball in the seventh inning of Monday’s game, then, shouldn’t come as a surprise.
That’s No. 9 on the year for Pence. Statcast measured it at 449 feet and 108.3 MPH off the bat. Not only is Pence not retired, he may be a lucrative trade chip for the Rangers leading up to the trade deadline at the end of July.