The Phillies like Josh Hamilton, but are they serious?

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The rumors of Josh Hamilton going to the Phillies seem kind of light. There was reportedly an offer — a three-year deal, reported by 94WIP’s Anthony Gargano — but there’s not a sense that it’s a game-changer or anything. At the moment the Rangers and the Mariners seem like the two teams most interested in Hamilton’s services.

Nevertheless, CSNPhilly.com’s Jake Kaplan spoke with Phillies assistant general manager Scott Proefrock, and he sings a love song about Hamilton:

“I can still remember the first spring training that he was in major league camp,” Proefrock said. “I think he was 18 years old at the time and (then Devil Rays manager) Larry Rothschild was dying to keep him on the club. He’s the most talented player I’ve ever seen in my 25 years in the game. Any team would be better for having him on the club. Whether it’s a fit for us remains to be seen.”

Proefrock goes on to say that Hamilton could fit, but so too could a number of players.

In the room the assistant GMs go, talking of Ryan Theriot?

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.