Peter O’Malley’s group has an exclusive window in which to purchase the Padres

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It was suspected that the O’Malley family — former Dodgers owners — were the front runners to buy the Padres. That suspicion has been confirmed, as Scott Miller reports that the O’Malley group — which is actually fronted by San Diego businessman Ron Fowler — has entered into an exclusive negotiation period with current owner John Moores.

Miller further reports that Fowler — who was to be a minority owner under the doomed Jeff Moorad bid — will play a much larger role in the new ownership group than previously believed. Indeed, he will be “the point man.”  Also in the group: golfer Phil Mickelson.

The sale price is expected to be in the neighborhood of $800 million. Since both Fowler and O’Malley are both past owners or quasi-owners, their approval, assuming a deal is reached, should go off without a hitch.

Hunter Pence is mashing for the Rangers

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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.