Pence well worth Giants’ investment 

click to enlarge Despite a slow start to the season, it was wise for the Giants to lock up Hunter Pence. - DAVID ZALUBOWSKI/AP FILE PHOTO
  • David Zalubowski/AP file photo
  • Despite a slow start to the season, it was wise for the Giants to lock up Hunter Pence.

The question as to whether a pro ballplayer is "worth" his new contract, no matter how big it might be, is as ridiculous as it is inevitable.

The greatest number-crunchers and market analysts on the planet will never be able to answer such questions to anyone's genuine satisfaction. Unless, of course, the crunchers and analysts work for the parties that hammered out said contract.

Great deal, boss. Nailed it. And there's still breathing room for that raise we talked about when I caught you with Johnson's wife in that utility closet.

Besides, the money we're talking about with respect to the big leagues makes virtually every big contract unfathomable. For us 99-percenters, discerning the difference between $65 million and $90 million is akin to Jimmy Fallon's sidekick getting to pick between making out with Penelope Cruz and Emily Blunt backstage. None of it makes a damn bit of sense.

Which brings us to Hunter Pence, who landed a five-year, $90 million deal from the Giants in the offseason and is off to a fairly ho-hum start. The question as to whether he was worth all that money will never stop being asked until the deal ends.

Here's the very simple answer: Yes, he is. Why? Because he's absolutely everything you want a professional baseball player to be and more.

He can run, he has pop, he can handle the bat, he throws well, he's got a good glove, he's a great teammate. Solid citizen, good with the fans, accessible and cooperative with the media, a great ambassador for the franchise and the game.

And to top it all off, the guy busts his butt every second of every game. He's not just passionate. He's maniacal. But he's controlled about it. No false hustle. It's all pure. In fact, if you had to pick one word to describe Pence as a ballplayer, it would be that: pure.

Hell of a word, right? Not much purity in anything these days. But there he is, all bug-eyed intensity out in right field as a gentle fog pours over the front wall of AT&T Park and heads his way.

He doesn't notice it, though. He's locked in. Always locked in.

Worth $90 million? Whatever. Who is, really? That kind of money, again, is impossible to understand.

Pence's value to the Giants is not, ho-hum start be damned.

About The Author

Mychael Urban

Mychael Urban

Bio:
Mychael Urban has been covering Bay Area sports for 25 years and has worked for MLB.com, Comcast SportsNet Bay Area and KNBR (680 AM).
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