Baggs: Giants asking a lot for Pence, Lopez
Hunter Pence could find himself the centerpiece of a trade deadline deal for the third straight season. (AP)
PHILADELPHIA – Giants manager Bruce Bochy plans to give Roger Kieschnick his first big league start on Wednesday.
The biggest question: Will it be in left field or right field?
That will depend on whether the Giants trade Hunter Pence prior to the non-waiver trade deadline; the clock strikes at 4 p.m. EDT on Wednesday. GM Brian Sabean remained huddled up with his chief advisors and they were believed to be spending the bulk of their time fielding offers for Pence and left-hander Javier Lopez, both of whom are free agents after the season.
The Rangers, Reds, Pirates and Yankees are among the teams that reportedly have inquired on Pence, although the Giants are asking for a controllable starting pitcher. If they don’t get the price they like, they’ll make a qualifying offer ($13.3 million) to Pence after the season, and if he signs elsewhere, they’ll take a compensatory draft pick.
As for Lopez, the Indians acquired lefty Mark Rzepczynski from the St. Louis Cardinals and the Braves traded for Angels lefty Scott Downs. But there are still plenty of teams looking for a left-hander, and as Lopez’s recent history shows, there’s nobody better at neutralizing a top left-handed hitter in a playoff series.
As for Tim Lincecum, he’s still on the hook for almost $8 million this season and likely would get through waivers if the Giants decide to deal him later. So the deadline isn’t as important as it pertains to him.
Sabean on Sunday met with some of the players whose names are appearing in rumors, Bochy said. As for the manager, he is taking the mindset that Pence, etc., are here until they aren’t.
“I have no reason to think he won’t be here,” Bochy said of Pence. “Now, it is the trade deadline and Brian is huddled up. Until I hear different I expect him to be here.”
Kieschnick is here, and so is Brett Pill, who is starting Tuesday night against lefty John Lannan. Pill could start against some right-handers, too.
Does Pill’s promotion reflect on the Giants’ dissatisfaction with first baseman Brandon Belt? Bochy’s answer was a bit evasive.
“This isn’t one player,” Bochy said. “If you look at it, our offense is sputtering and sometimes you look to change things up. We brought up (Kensuke) Tanaka and he was a spark initially.
Pill has been the best hitter down in Fresno all year. He’s gotten a small sample here but we need some help offensive and hopefully these two will help us. At the same time it may allow a player like Belt to relax a little by backing him off when he needs a break.”
Buster Posey was scratched from the lineup, but don’t look for any #BusterHugs that would signal a trade. Posey has a stomach ailment. From the looks of him, he probably won’t be available off the bench, either.
“It came on all of the sudden,” Bochy said.
Andres Torres missed the White House visit on Monday. He said his back was very sore after diving for a ball Sunday, and he stayed back to get extra treatment. Torres was at the White House in 2011, and he didn’t play on last year’s championship team. So he didn’t mind missing it.
“But I’m very happy for all the guys who got to go for the first time,” he said.
Torres said his back is improved after treatment.
Finally … Lincecum had to know that President Obama was going to make a one-liner out of his haircut, didn’t he?
“Yeah,” he said. “I turned to hide. It’s kind of tough to hide from the president.”