The Rangers have signed outfielder Hunter Pence to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training, per the team’s executive VP of communications John Blake. According to Jon Heyman, Pence will earn a $2 million base salary with an additional $1.25 million in incentives if he makes the major league roster.
Pence, 35, was thought to be retiring after battling injuries as he progressed through his mid-30’s. Last year, in 97 games with the Giants, he hit a minuscule .226/.358/.332 with four home runs and 24 RBI across 248 plate appearances. Pence still thinks he has something left in the tank. Hopefully he’s right.
This is a low-risk venture for the rebuilding Rangers. Pence will, at minimum, be a mentor to younger players in spring camp in Surprise, Arizona.
Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Oakland Athletics owner John Fisher has reversed course and will continue to pay minor leaguers. Fisher tells Slusser, “I concluded I made a mistake.” He said he is also setting up an assistance fund for furloughed employees.
The A’s decided in late May to stop paying paying minor leaguers as of June 1, which was the earliest date on which any club could do so after an MLB-wide agreement to pay minor leaguers through May 31 expired. In the event, the A’s were the only team to stop paying the $400/week stipends to players before the end of June. Some teams, notable the Royals and Twins, promised to keep the payments up through August 31, which is when the minor league season would’ve ended. The Washington Nationals decided to lop off $100 of the stipends last week but, after a day’s worth of blowback from the media and fans, reversed course themselves.