Pence deal intrigues, but ...

July 31, 2012, 6:29 pm
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Hunter Pence, eh? Feel better now?Or more accurately, feel worse about grinding on the cheap old Giants and do-nothing Brian Sabean?Well, you shouldnt feel either happy or angry. You should be intrigued, but you should also remember how excited you were when you got Carlos Beltran a year ago.You see, a trade is a trade, but its isnt more than that. Pence gives the Giants a right fielder, if he can play the treacherous right field at Cash Cow Park. He gives them a middle of the lineup bat, if he doesnt get crushed by the park in that way either. It gives them a dynamic response to the Dodgers shopping spree, if he decides he likes San Francisco.In sum, what you have here is a fascinating addition by a team that actually is not shy about doing things at the deadline, and one that has increased its payroll by approximately 50 percent in two years. But you dont have an E-ticket to October, not at all. In fact, you may not have anything except proof of payroll flexibility and the eagerness to deal.For the moment, that is enough for most folks, because most folks are addicted to shopping in all its forms. The Giants have been as active on the phone as any other team, but until this morning were condemned as cheap or indolent.Now, for the cost of minor league catcher Tommy Joseph, whom the Giants liked (though not as much as they liked pitcher Zach Wheeler a year ago), they have the outfielder the customers demanded. They also dont have the closer theyve been demanding, but one cannot buy shoes and trousers at the same time.Pence will command a huge arbitration payout come winter, which the Giants know. But having decided that they need the bat Beltran was supposed to be, they have decided yet again to worry about cost later for the short-term dream.If it is in fact a dream.Pence goes from a hitters paradise to a hitters prison unless he can either shorten the left field wall or find happiness in the gaps. Hell go from high-heat, high-humidity to night and morning fog. He goes to a place that conquered Beltran, most notably, which is why you shouldnt be leaping from tree to hilltop singing I Am 16 Going On 17.What you have is a team willing to re-up. What you dont have is assurance that this is the answer. After all, nobody thought the moves of 2010 would result in a World Series, and everyone thought Beltran would be the cure.Let that be todays lesson for you. This one will take time before a smile turns to untrammeled glee. But its something better than the drone of constant bitching.Ray Ratto is a columnist for

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