Programming note: Comprehensive Giants coverage begins on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area with Brian Sabean's appearance on Chronicle Live at 5 p.m.
SAN FRANCISCO --Brian Sabean got his man, even if it took a year to get adeal done.The Giants general manager admitted that he has looked into acquiring HunterPence since the 2011 season on a conference call with reporters Tuesday.It does go back to last year, Sabean said. We tried inearnest. I cant say we made as big a push as we did this year. Weve been atthis now for 16 solid days.While the pursuit of Pence was not exactly a knee-jerk reaction to PabloSandovals injury or a season-high five-game losing streak, Sabean said thosetwo factors did lead to more of a sense of urgency in the Giants front office.Were obviously challenged with Pablo out, Sabean said. Idont know if hell be back by the end of the road trip or next homestand ornot Pablo was obviously a blow and this is the type of race, you cant affordto stay in a lull too long. In some ways, we want to survive until Pablo getsback.When you watch the team lose five in a row at home, whichis rare, you can be too critical. Sometimes youre forever evaluating yourroster because its a living organism, so to speak, and there are some ups anddowns. Right now, we need all the help we can get in a lot of areas because ofthe losing streak.Sabean believes Pence will strengthen a Giants lineup that was shut out inback-to-back games against the Dodgers and is without one of its biggest powerthreats in Sandoval.He obviously will hit in the middle of the order, Sabeansaid of Pence and his .291 lifetime average. Hes had a lot of success here inthis ballpark. We like his size, strength and athletic ability in general, theway he approaches the game. And it was important for us to have a right-handedhitter and a player we can control.Unlike Carlos Beltran, who Sabean traded his top pitchingprospect for last July, Pence cant leave the Giants as a free agent after thisseason. He has one more year of arbitration eligibility before hitting the openmarket and Sabean said he is hopeful that he can keep Pence in a Giants uniformfor more than just the next year and a half. He also said that trading forPence would not affect the teams ability to re-sign Melky Cabrera to along-term contract after the season.We all go through the budget fire drill on a monthly basis,Sabean said. It became apparent we were going to have flexibility thisoffseason. Im sure everybodys curious if we have enough room after Pence andwe do.To acquire Pence, Sabean put together a package ofoutfielder Nate Schierholtz and two minor leaguers, top catching prospect TommyJoseph and pitcher Seth Rosin. Sabean said it made sense to send Schierholtz to Philadelphia because it willgive him an opportunity for more playing time, and that Joseph was deemedexpendable because of the Giants catching surplus.Weve got a luxury, Sabean said. Weve got an All-Starcatcher and a guy behind him in Hector Sanchez that weve asked a lot of. Thenweve got Andrew Susac in San Jose. So we have a luxury that a lot of otherorganizations dont.It was talent that we had prepared ourselves to be able tomove for various reasons and thats what it took.Joseph was one of a few highly regarded prospects in theGiants system, which left Sabean without many enticing trade chips at thedeadline. He said he also looked into trades to bolster a bullpen that hasstruggled of late.The bullpens been challenged lately and we have to figureout why, Sabean said. We did look at some options on the outside that didntcome to fruition.Sabean may have swung and missed on the bullpen front, but he did manage to adda hitter that now leads the club in home runs (17) and is just short of BusterPoseys team-leading 61 RBIs with 59. Whether that hitter will make anappearance in Tuesdays game against the Mets, however, is still up in the air.Im not sure, Sabean said of Pences availability. I knowhe gets in after game time. When he lands well have it figured out whetherhes active or not.