Giants reportedly open talks with Pence; quiet on Lincecum

Giants reportedly open talks with Pence; quiet on Lincecum
September 13, 2013, 6:30 pm
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Hunter Pence is the first Giant to hit 20+ home runs and steal 20+ bases in a season since Barry Bonds in 1998. (USA TODAY IMAGES)

LOS ANGELES – The Giants have opened a dialogue with the agents for Hunter Pence about a new contract, the right fielder told the San Francisco Chronicle before batting practice Friday.

But their other high-profile free agent, right-hander Tim Lincecum, hasn’t heard anything about a new deal. Lincecum told me he checked in with his agent last week  and there was nothing new from the club.

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Both Pence and Lincecum are represented by the Beverly Hills Sports Council.

Pence didn't elaborate on the tone or substance of talks, except to tell the Chronicle that "there are conversations."

The Giants have exclusive negotiating rights with both players until five days after the World Series. Giants GM Brian Sabean has said he plans to tender qualifying offers to both players, which would amount to roughly $14 million on a one-year contract. Even though both players almost certainly would refuse, the offer would qualify the Giants to receive draft pick compensation if either player signs elsewhere.

It also could suppress the market for Pence, and more so Lincecum, since a signing club would have to forfeit a draft pick to sign them.

(For more on Lincecum and qualifying offers, and why the Mariners’ record over these next two weeks could impact where he goes this winter, read this.)

Sabean is scouting in the Dominican Republic along with vice president Bobby Evans, the club’s point man in contract discussions. So nothing is far along right now with Pence.

But the fact that there is dialogue would be a good indication the Giants are serious about re-signing their inspirational, everyday right fielder.

Losing Pence would decimate the Giants, who already need an everyday left fielder and have a center fielder, Angel Pagan, coming off a major hamstring procedure.

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