Giants GM: Pence could become part-timer

From ESPN - November 14, 2017

ORLANDO, Fla. -- As the San Francisco Giants contemplate additions to their outfield this offseason, some old faces might have to get used to new roles in 2018.

The Giants have already laid the groundwork to shift Denard Span from center field to left field next season. Depending on the team's other moves, right fielder Hunter Pence could be in for a more limited role, general manager Bobby Evans said Tuesday.

"Our focus is center field, and we have got to do everything we can to upgrade the defense," Evans said from the MLB general managers meetings in Orlando. "If that moves Pence into more of a part-time role, we have to be prepared for that.

"Hunter's not a part-time kind of guy, but we have to do everything we can to be better out there -- and be open-minded."

The Giants' outfield was substandard on both sides of the ball this season and played a significant role in San Francisco's drop-off from wild-card team to a 64-98 record and last place in the National League West.

Offensively, San Francisco's left fielders ranked 28th, the center fielders were 23rd and the right fielders 30th in the majors in OPS. According to Baseball Info Solutions, San Francisco's outfielders were last in MLB with a cumulative minus-45 defensive runs saved.

Pence has been a middle-of-the-order fixture since coming to San Francisco from the Philadelphia Phillies in a July 2012 trade for Tommy Joseph, Seth Rosin and Nate Schierholtz. He made the All-Star team and finished 11th in NL MVP voting in 2014, when the Giants won their third championship in a five-year-span.

But Pence's offensive contributions slipped markedly in 2017. He hit only 13 homers in 493 at-bats and logged a career worst .260/.315/.385 slash line.


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