Hunter Pence reflects on his time with the Giants in a heartfelt essay

Hunter Pence reflects on his time with the Giants in a heartfelt essay

During his last game at AT&T Park, Hunter Pence exited in a way only he could -- on a motorized scooter. It was the appearance of a young soul who wanted to soak up as much of the atmosphere as possible.

At the time, it was presumed that was going to be his last game as a member of the Giants. But nobody knew for sure, including Pence.

With the three-time All-Star recently agreeing to a minor league deal with the Rangers, he reflected on the seven seasons he spent as a member of the Giants in a touching essay entitled "Gr8ful" to The Player's Tribune

When he thought about his time with the team, he said it gave him goosebumps.

"I have grown so much over the six and a half years I was a part of this franchise," Pence wrote. "One thing I know is that if I didn’t feel comfortable being myself and wasn’t in such an accepting environment I don’t think I would have had the guts to give such an outlandish speech. Thank you for that."

Being a Giant, Pence felt like the team was unstoppable.

"As Giants we had a bit of a superpower, a secret weapon, so to speak. It was the unity, support, and acceptance which you guys fueled us all with every day."

He talked about the moment his golden scooter got stolen while he was at dinner. This wasn't the main part of the retelling of the story, but the fact that his M.I.A. scooter gained so much traction it "became a ticker on ESPN."

The ticker went from saying the scooter was missing to it had been found. 

This was just one of many stories Pence seemed to smile about as he thought about the countless moments he spent with the organization. 

He also talked on the Travis Ishikawa home run in Game 5 of the NLCS to send the Giants to the World Series and a beautiful moment that was so vivid, he could tell you what colors the sky was.

"I don’t remember the exact inning and I don’t remember the exact score, all I know is it was late in Game 6 against the Cardinals and Vogelsong was on the mound," he wrote. "The sun was setting. The sky was a mix of purple, blue, orange, red, and yellow, a color combo like I had never seen before. Vogey was in that zone that he gets into where you can literally feel his intensity. You could feel he knew exactly where every pitch was going, and you could feel he knew exactly where he wanted to throw it.

"The entire stadium was chanting, “VOGEY! VOGEY! VOGEY! VOGEY!” and he didn’t even flinch. It was as if he couldn’t even hear it, he was so dialed in. I looked behind me and the fans in right field were shaking the fence so hard I’m pretty sure they broke it and easily could have charged the field in the middle of the game."


He ended the trip down memory lane with thank you's and hopes that those who read it felt as much joy ("even a tiny bit") he experienced.

"I love you all and always will. Your good friend, Hunter Pence."


Giants use flexibility to add Zack Cozart, acquire top infield prospect


Giants use flexibility to add Zack Cozart, acquire top infield prospect

SAN DIEGO -- The Giants got involved in the Gerrit Cole derby, just not in the way most fans had hoped.

They acquired infielder Zack Cozart from the Angels on Tuesday, taking on the remaining $12.67 million of the 34-year-old infielder's contract. The reward for doing so was shortstop prospect Will Wilson, with the savvy deal officially announced as Cozart and Wilson in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations. 

For the Angels, losing a good prospect could lead to much bigger things. They are one of the leading contenders for Cole and needed to free up some money.

For the Giants, this is simple. They are rebuilding, they have plenty of payroll flexibility, and they combined those two facts to essentially buy a first-round pick by taking on a veteran's salary. 

Wilson, 21, is the key to the deal. He was the 15th overall selection in the 2019 draft and was the Angels' No. 4 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline. Wilson had a .275/.328/.439 slash line in rookie ball last year with five homers and 10 doubles in 189 at-bats. He is a right-handed hitter who is said to have above-average pop and good hands. 

The Giants have gone years without developing homegrown infielders after a strong run at the start of the decade, and that's one area president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi looked to bolster when he took over. Wilson will be one of the organization's better prospects and might be their second-best infield prospect after Marco Luciano. 

Cozart was an All-Star in 2017 but missed most of 2019 with left shoulder inflammation. He hit just .124 in 38 games and didn't homer. Cozart played 58 games in 2018, the first season of a big three-year deal, hitting .219 with five homers. 

[RELATED: Giants sign pitcher Gausman to one-year, $9M contract]

On the surface, Cozart is a tough fit for the 2020 roster. The Giants had hoped to add a left-handed hitting infielder to complement Evan Longoria, Mauricio Dubon and Donovan Solano, although it's possible Dubon will get more reps in the outfield with Cozart now potentially in the mix.

This deal wasn't about the big league roster, though. It was about buying a good prospect, something the Giants tried to do last offseason and expect to continue working on as they try to build a future contender. 

Giants trade for Angels' Zack Cozart, 2019 first-round pick Will Wilson


Giants trade for Angels' Zack Cozart, 2019 first-round pick Will Wilson

The Giants made their first trade at the MLB Winter Meetings on Tuesday. 

San Francisco acquired infielder Zack Cozart and shortstop Will Wilson in a trade with the Los Angeles Angels, the team announced. 

Cozart, 34, slashed a career-worst .124/.178/.144 and in 38 games in 2019 before undergoing season-ending left shoulder surgery. He needed season-ending surgery on the same shoulder in 2018, and he is set to make $12.67 million in 2020 before becoming a free agent in 2021. 

[RELATED: Giants sign pitcher Gausman to one-year, $9M contract]

Wilson, 21, was the Angels' first-round pick (No. 15 overall) in the 2019 MLB Draft. listed the North Carolina State product as the Angels' No. 4 prospect.

The Athletic's Fabian Ardaya first reported the news.