Programming note: Giants-Phillies coverage gets underway today at 3:30 p.m. with Giants Pregame Live on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.
PHILADELPHIA – Hunter Pence walked into the Giants clubhouse at 4:01 p.m. EDT, with both arms raised in the Rocky pose and a smile on his face.
Javier Lopez spoke of the two-year commitment he made and how pleased he was that the Giants wished to honor that commitment.
As for GM Brian Sabean, he used the words “marginal” and “embarrassing” to describe the offers he got for those two veteran players in the days, hours and minutes leading up to the non-waiver trade deadline.
The Giants stood pat, and they were perfectly fine with it.
“We were in a position to use some leverage and we used that leverage,” Sabean said. “We set a high bar and people missed the mark. They didn’t even approach the mark. That was a little frustrating, if not embarrassing.”
The Giants were not conducting a fire sale and they weren’t motivated to shed salary. They wanted legitimate prospects for Pence, one of few available run producers, or Lopez, whose value should be clear to anyone who watched him neutralize left-handed masters like Ryan Howard, Jay Bruce and Prince Fielder over two of the past three postseasons.
As for Tim Lincecum, he still could get through waivers and be dealt in August. But Sabean might have made his biggest news of the day when he signaled his clear intention to re-sign all three impending free agents.
Both Lopez and Pence have stated their desire to stay beyond this year. Pence and Lincecum would receive qualifying offers, at least. And Sabean wouldn’t rule out the possibility of opening negotiations with any or all of the trio before this season ends.
“We were dealing with three key free agents we want to re-sign,” Sabean said.
Internally, Sabean said he and his top lieutenants began identifying buy targets on June 1, then began exploring the seller’s market as early as July 1. But in the week before the deadline, they came to the realization that they’d be content standing still.
“We’ve retained three guys we want to re-sign,” he said. “I’m pleased. I’m actually pleased with the outcome.”
So is Pence, who had to laugh after some Phillies fans organized a few hundred people to blast him on Twitter with messages that he’d been dealt to the Boston Red Sox. The joke had a cruel bent, but Pence found himself able to laugh at it – and he actually slept well Tuesday night.
[REWIND: Waiting is the hardest part for Pence]
“You can’t watch Twitter,” Pence said. “Twitter knows nothing.”
Indeed. When one national writer is confirming a report by another national writer that a certain team is doing nothing at the deadline … well, that’s sports journalism in the 21st century for you.
This is the first deadline in three years when Pence stayed put. He joined the Giants from the Phillies last year, and went from the Astros to the Phillies in 2011.
“Both years I never really thought I’d get traded,” Pence said. “So it made me realize anything is possible.”
Since he’s still here, does Pence take that as a sign that management got the message he wanted to send when he met with Sabean and professed his desire to stay beyond this season?
“I know they heard what I had to say,” Pence said. “They said unless we get knocked off our feet, you’ll be here."
Joked Lopez, who had persistent interest from the Detroit Tigers: “I guess they didn’t want to trade Miggy straight up for me.”
Lopez said he already has met with management and mutual interest was expressed in a new contract.
“Today’s a good day,” said Lopez, who was the most keyed up of the bunch as the deadline approached. “We’re not playing ball like we’d like, but I signed for two years for this organization and they’re honoring that commitment.”