In their search for outfield help the Mets have acquired Collin Cowgill from the A’s for minor leaguer Jefry Marte.
Cowgill, who went from Arizona to Oakland in last offseason’s Trevor Cahill deal, is 26 years old and has hit just .255 with a .631 OPS in 74 games as a big leaguer.
He put up huge numbers at Triple-A in 2011, but slumped this year and the former fifth-round pick is a career .291 hitter with a .371 on-base percentage and .470 slugging percentage in the minors.
He’s capable of playing all three outfield spots and hits right-handed, so Cowgill has a good chance to fill a bench role for the Mets or perhaps work his way into a platoon gig versus lefties.
Marte is a 22-year-old third baseman who spent this season hitting .251 with a .687 OPS in 129 games at Double-A. He’s yet to crack a .750 OPS in four full seasons, so the price tag for Cowgill wasn’t much.
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.