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Report: J.P. Ricciardi joining Giants in senior advisor role

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Former GM J.P. Ricciardi will join the Giants in a senior advisor role, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports. He’ll work under new president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi, whom the Giants hired from the Dodgers earlier this offseason.

Ricciardi, 59, was the GM of the Blue Jays from November 2001 through October 2009. Ricciardi was also in the Athletics’ front office during the Moneyball days. He briefly worked on ESPN’s “Baseball Tonight” before joining the Mets’ front office as a special assistant in November 2010.

The Giants will likely have more front office hirings to come before spring training begins in February. Given his experience, Ricciardi should be useful to Zaidi.

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.