The opinions are pouring in on the Phillies’ trade for Hunter Pence. Here are some positive and negative reviews of the trade from Beerleaguer readers and local and national media, as well as my thoughts:
Dragon: When you're driving hard for another WS, you need a solid veteran like a Pence, not three or four low-A ballplayers who may or may not ever pan out. The future is now. Good job, Ruben.
cut_fastball: How does Pence make a difference? His hyper-"work ethic"? That can get you arthritis; see Utley, Chase. His BABIP is higher than it should be... how did we not just re-acquire Ben Fran/ JMJ? Don’t we already have a “Pence-equivalent” on our team? Everything I’ve read about Pence says that he has an “ugly” swing. Boy oh boy, can’t wait for Pence’s next 0-23…
Paul Hagen, Daily News: The reality is that the Phillies lineup, as it existed, was flawed. It was too lefthanded. It sorely lacked the righthanded bat that’s been missing ever since Jayson Werth departed for free-agent riches in Washington. Pence can be that bat. He increases the chances that the Phillies will be able to cash in on one of the remaining years in their window of opportunity. Domonic Brown might be someday. John Mayberry Jr. might be someday. Pence is right now and that makes all the difference.
Matthew Pouliot, HardballTalk: He will give the Phillies offense a lift, and he may well make a difference as a No. 5 hitter come playoff time. Still, it’s debatable whether he was really enough of an upgrade to justify the investment. He has a 119 OPS+ since 2009, which puts him a bit below fellow corner outfielders Nick Swisher and Josh Willingham and barely above Corey Hart and Bobby Abreu. He is an above average defender and an asset on the basepaths, but he’s not truly a star and he’s about to get paid like one.
Jeff Passan, Yahoo Sports: Phillies are buying awfully high on Hunter Pence. His .370 average on balls in play is fifth in big leagues. Regression is a mother.
Jon Heyman, Sports Illustrated: #astros sold high on pence. yet still didnt get very much.
Beerleaguer: While the Phillies can win the World Series in 2013, 2014 and 2015, I think that given the age of their core players, their most realistic window to win it all is this year and next year. Hunter Pence gives them a better chance to do that. He can split up the Phillies' lefty bats, he gives the team a significant defensive upgrade over Dom Brown, he is under control for two more years, he is still in his prime and he is, by all accounts, a positive locker room influence. Pence is not a great player. He is, in my opinion, a B+ player who has his flaws but also brings a lot of skills to the table. I do have some fear that he's the type of player who we'll like less once we see him play every day. But given the Phillies' needs 24 hours ago and the cost of the trade - specifically the fact that Brown and Worley were not involved - I think it's certainly a trade that the Phillies had to make.