But when the first half of the Phillies' season played out as it did, and the club traded Pence to the Giants just before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, the Phillies' events team was presented with a unique situation.
All fans attending Tuesday night's game against the Reds will receive a Liberty Mutual Insurance Hunter Pence Bobble Figurine. It features a smiling Pence, sporting Philadelphia's alternative home uniform, with his leg in the air just about to swing a bat.
It's the first time multiple longtime Phillies employees remember having a giveaway for a recently traded player. There wasn't much that could be done once the situation presented itself.
"We talked [after the Trade Deadline], and we spoke with Liberty Mutual, who's the sponsor, and we pretty much decided that, 'You know, we should still do this,'" said Scott Brandreth, the Phillies' director of merchandising. "I don't think it was really that difficult of a decision. Bobble heads are a pretty popular promotion and they're a collectible item. This one just might be a little bit more collectible now that it's got a little unique story to it."
The Phillies give away two bobbleheads per season, one early in the year (a Cliff Lee figurine) and one in the latter portion of the season. The figurines are planned out at least four months in advance, Brandreth said, so the club did not have the option of making a last-minute switch to another player. The club could have changed the promotion altogether, but that presents another quandary.
"I guess there's a little, 'What are you going to do with 45,000 bobbleheads?' That certainly crossed your mind," Brandreth said. "There were a few different scenarios we discussed. But we felt that, 'You know what? It's a popular item, and it was a popular player and we assume that there were a decent amount of people that bought tickets for it. So lets do it.'"
Though this situation is foreign to this organization, it is not unprecedented. Brandreth reached out to others around the Majors, asking if anything like this had happened before. Multiple clubs, including the Indians and the Twins, responded that they had similar situations arise.
The Phillies' public relations department also reached out to Pence, whom Brandreth said was fine with the club going ahead with Tuesday's promotion.
"Hunter is happy that we're giving it away. He's aware of it," Brandreth said. "It was only a year of his career, but he had a pretty good year. He was a big part of the 102 wins last year. So he was on board with it as well."