One year after acquiring him from the Houston Astros, the Philadelphia Phillies are sending Hunter Pence to the San Francisco Giants in a deadline day deal.
That's good news for the cost-cutting Phillies, but for one weird problem: The team still has a Hunter Pence bobblehead day scheduled for Aug. 21.
Phillies.com was still touting the giveaway as of Tuesday afternoon. It says a bobblehead will go to "all fans" at Citizens Bank Park, which likely means they've stockpiled about 45,000 of these babies in south Philly.
So with Pence headed west, what are their options? Adding a bonus pack of orange-and-black watercolors so fans can doctor the Pence dolls to reflect the team change? Or to quickly make it into a Nate Schierholtz giveaway given that he was one of the players the Giants are sending to Philly in the deal?
Answer: None of the above. Todd Zolecki of MLB.com reports that the team will go ahead with the giveaway as planned, no matter that Pence will no longer be a Phillie.
Better to placate their fans with a free toy than have them dwell on the realities of a lost season in Philly, we suppose.
In addition to Schierholtz, the Phillies receive minor-league catcher Tommy Joseph (who would have been blocked by Buster Posey in San Francisco) and right-handed pitching prospect Seth Rosin.
In Pence, the Giants get a hitter with this line: .271/.336/.447 and 17 home runs, which ought to help their raggedy offense. He's not a free agent until 2014 (which makes the move a little curious for the Phillies) and he's not as good on defense as Schierholtz, who played the unusual right field at AT&T Park rather well. Schierholtz's offense should improve some in the hitter-friendly ballpark in Philly.
It isn't every July that one team helps bolster the outfields of two division rivals, but the Phillies entered Tuesday as the most motivated of sellers. They're not going anywhere at 45-57 and both men ranked among their most valuable trade pieces. Victorino was a strong candidate to be moved as he becomes a free agent after the season and Pence was attractive to other teams because he's under team control through the 2013 season.
The trades probably look a little blah to Phillies fans, but if they realize that a lot of Victorino's value and Pence's value came with the possibility of another World Series championship in Philly — something that didn't happen — perhaps the moves will make a little more sense. It won't make them feel better, though.
So, maybe Victorino and Pence didn't bring that much in return, once it was time for them to go. But the Phillies gain some all-important financial flexibility and the fans obtain a valuable Hunter Pence collectible that they can keep to remember the good times or sell on eBay to Pence's new smitten fans in San Francisco.