The veteran leadership and energy of Hunter Pence would make him a great addition to this Chicago Cubs roster.
The San Francisco Giants cut ties with veteran outfielder Hunter Pence on Sunday. The two-time World Series champion was designated for assignment, following a slow start to the season: .096 average, two HRs, six RBI in 52 ABs.
Pence, 37, will be placed on the waiver list and if he goes unclaimed, will be released. This is a name Theo Epstein needs to add in his notepad, iPad, or whatever it is that he uses to keep track of potential additions.
Right now the Cubs are a good team, but as we’ve seen the last 10 games (4-6) they have some holes. That being said, they are still in first place and are a few moves away from becoming the dominant team they were in 2016.
With the August 31st trade deadline approaching, Epstein will need to make some moves if the Cubs are serious about being contenders this season, and right now is the perfect low-risk high reward scenario with Pence.
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Aside from having a group of All-Stars in their starting lineup, part of what made the Cubs a World Series team in 2016 was their role players and veteran leadership off the bench with players like Matt Szczur and Chris Coghlan. Pence falls in both of these categories.
It’s no secret the four-time All-Star has struggled this season, but the Cubs do not need him to be an every day MVP caliber outfielder. Instead, he could play a Jason Kipnis type of role, coming off the bench and making spot starts when needed.
After placing Steven Souza Jr. on the 10-day IL with a hamstring injury, the Cubs need more depth in the outfield and a right-handed bat to face lefties.
Pence is only a year removed from being the starting DH in the 2019 All-Star game with the Texas Rangers. Through 82 games played last season he slashed .297/.358/.552 with a .910 OPS.
Aside from his career accolades Pence has always been known for his charismatic personality, bringing a spark to the ballpark and his teammates. You would be hard-pressed to try and say he would not be a good fit for this Cubs team that feeds off energy to win games. It would not be the only move that needs to be made to address some issues, but it would be a great start.
It is rare for teams to find a two-time world series veteran off the streets, which is why Theo Epstein needs to make this happen, before someone else does.