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Hunter Pence signs with the Giants


UPDATE: Jon Heyman reports that the deal between Pence and the Giants is done.

10:55 AM: I am not a scoop guy by any stretch of the imagination. My habit of never leaving my house and my existential dread of talking on the phone with people prevents that from ever really being my gig. I’ll leave that to the Jeff Passans and Ken Rosenthals of the world.

Still, I’ve gotten a couple of scoops over the years. A random contract extension here. A random signing there. If you hang around baseball and baseball people long enough stuff falls into your lap.

Some of that stuff is more random than other stuff, of course. Like, one of my more notable scoops was when the Braves signed A.J. Pierzynski. Know how I learned about that one? Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez was in line at a Honeybaked Ham Company, picking up his Christmas ham, and was talking about it too loudly on the phone. A reader’s dad was behind him in line, told the reader and the reader and sent me a message about it. Viva journalism.

We have another one of those today. [Super serious voice]: NBC SPORTS HAS LEARNED that free agent outfielder Hunter Pence is in agreement with the Giants on a contract. He’s on his way up to San Francisco as we speak to take a physical. Pence, NBC SPORTS HAS LEARNED, turned down offers from the Padres and Astros to sign with the Giants.

Most journalists will never tell you their sources, but I’ll let you in on mine: some random guy in the airport in San Diego, where a few minutes ago he overheard Pence, who was getting ready to board a flight to San Francisco, talking about all of this quite loudly on his cell phone. I’m not gonna say that’s Woodward and Bernstein stuff, but I feel like it’s pretty solid as far as these things go. If it’s not I promise to write a 2,000-word essay about how getting it right is better than passing along hilarious crap from dudes who talk too loud on their cell phones in public spaces. I won’t believe that necessarily, but I’ll write it.

Anyway: Pence hit a surprising .297/.358/.552 in about a half season’s worth of work for the Rangers last year, and even made the American League All-Star team, but had his season cut short with back issues. It’s hard to expect a repeat of that or even a full season from him given that he has managed to play in more than 110 games just once dating back to 2015, but the Giants are in rebuilding mode, he’s well-liked from all of his years in the Bay Area, and this is no doubt going to be a low-leverage signing for the club.

Anyway: keep your voices down, folks. You never know who might be listening. I got spies everywhere, apparently.

Oakland Athletics reverse course, will continue to pay minor leaguers

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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.