Very quick thoughts on the Giants' agreeing to a 5-year, $90M deal with right fielder Hunter Pence Saturday morning, according to countless media reports...

Is $18M per for five years for a player who turns 31 next April and isn't one of the top 10 players in baseball a clear over-pay?

Almost certainly. Beyond much doubt. In other words: YES.

But this is one case when I think the Giants decided they're rich enough to afford the rewarding of somebody they're proud to have on their roster and if that means they bid against themselves in order to do it now, so be it.

The Giants' potential thinking:

  • No matter what, next year they need a RF who hits HRs and Pence has proven he can do that, even in AT&T Park;

    Hunter Pence is hitting .282 with 26 homers, 94 RBIs and 22 stolen bases. He has made 169 straight starts.
    Hunter Pence is hitting .282 with 26 homers, 94 RBIs and 22 stolen bases. He has made 169 straight starts. (Anda Chu / Bay Area News Group)

  • The Giants brass loves Pence's attitude and his durability, and the clubhouse loves him, too;

  • Pence, at this level of production, is worth $18M for at least a couple more years, and he is so healthy that they don't have the usual worries (that the Giants had after the 2011 season with Carlos Beltran, for instance) about wasted money for a disabled player;

  • This is not Aaron Rowand, who got 5 years for $60M with zero proven ability to hit for power at spacious AT&T Park, because Pence has done it and has embraced it;

  • And if Pence isn't worth $18M, or anything close to it, by Years 4-5 (when he'll be in his mid-30s), oh well, there's enough cash-flow to handle a back-end deal like that in 2017;


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    Though that's easy to rationalize now -- we'll see how they feel about it when we all get to 2017 of course;

    And there was the Brian Wilson trigger, too, which I admit is ONLY MY SUPPOSITION, but I think it's pretty decent supposition on the interesting timing of it all.

    Why do this now as opposed to waiting a few weeks to see what the market turns out to be? Why jump out ahead of the Andre Ethier standard -- 5 years, $85M -- when there wasn't a huge immediate incentive to do it?

    I'm saying there was an immediate incentive for the Giants to do it, and it probably started when Wilson berated CEO Larry Baer the other night in full public view.

    That's when I think Baer got personally involved in this, which put it all on the fast track, and gee, what would've driven that?

    To me it's fascinating that Baer was in the middle of this so publicly (post-game discussion with Pence last night, in full view of reporters) right after he was berated by Wilson for some dumb thing relating to a 2012 World Series ring the Giants have been trying to get to Wilson for weeks.

    Maybe Baer instantly wanted to reward a player like Pence who represents stability and discipline after the Wilson look-at-me idiocy, and the rest of the Giants' ownership agreed, and if it took $10-15M more than the Giants were previously prepared to pay, for a year more than the Giants were willing to commit to... then that's what it'd be.

    The B-Willy Bonus and law of unintended consequences of being stupid.

    I'm saying the Wilson wild-eyed buffoonery triggered Giants to rationalize: We've got the money, why not reward a guy we love who doesn't embarrass us, a guy who just won the Willie Mac Award -- very significant in that clubhouse and in the executive suites, and SHOULD be significant.

    And it's something Brian Wilson, for all his hype and cartoonish thunder, could and never would receive, ever, ever, ever, ever.