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Hunter Pence agrees to five-year, $90 million extension with Giants

Mark Townsend
Big League Stew

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(USA Today)

The San Francisco Giants won't allow Hunter Pence to hit the open market this winter. As first reported by CBS Sports' Jon Heyman, the two sides have agreed to a five-year contract extension worth $90 million. The agreement is pending a physical, which should be a foregone conclusion. It's expected to be formally announced before the Giants season ends on Sunday.

The news comes just one day after the 30-year-old outfielder and team president Larry Baer were spotted having a conversation in the Giants clubhouse.

"They're about to get back to me," Pence told the reporters. "So we're either really close or really far away."

Turns out they were very close, or at least very determined to get the deal done. Pence had previously stated he would be willing to give up free agency to sign an extension with San Francisco. The Giants, who were clearly anxious to get a deal done, weren't going to let Pence pack up his locker on Sunday before they could hammer something out.

Following the report on Saturday morning, the good news traveled fast through the Giants clubhouse. Even before Pence could arrive to the stadium and make his own comments, his teammates were already discussing the deal and having a little fun at his expense.

Jokes aside, the consensus opinion is everyone is happy Pence will be a Giant through at least the 2018 season.

From the San Jose Mercury News:

"That's a guy you know is always going to bring it," right hander Matt Cain said as the deal was announced. "He's an exciting player to have. Him being on the team is a huge, huge benefit for us."

Pence was acquired at the trade deadline last season and made an impact throughout the title run, giving inspirational speeches before elimination games. He quickly became a popular figure in the clubhouse and a mentor to younger players.

"That's a guy you want on your side," Cain said.

Sometimes it's easier to dissect the numbers and let those determine what makes a good or bad deal. With Hunter Pence, the value obviously goes well beyond that to San Francisco.

Still, it would have been interesting to see how the market played out for Pence had he made it to free agency. He's coming off his best all-around offensive season, posting a .282/.339/.481 slash line with a career best 26 home runs. He also has 35 doubles and a career-high 22 stolen bases.

Those numbers would have looked good to several teams, so the Giants likely ended up with a pretty nice discount as Pence enters the final leg of his prime.

The season is winding down but we're just warming up!
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