The Willie Mac Award might not be the only token of appreciation that Hunter Pence receives from the Giants this weekend.

In a highly unorthodox scene following the Giants’ 7-3 victory over the San Diego Padres Friday night Baer and Pence held a long discussion within earshot of reporters in which they appeared to be discussing a new contract.

Baer joked and said he was merely congratulating Pence on the Willie Mac Award. But Pence after apologizing for making the media wait confirmed that he indeed is awaiting a response from the club. And he sensed that something could get done very soon.

“They’re about to get back to me seriously” Pence said. “So we’re either really close or really far away.”

Like close as in he could reach an agreement before everyone scatters for the winter on Sunday?

“Yeah” Pence said. “I’ll know shortly. We’ll just say we’re talking I guess.”

Earlier Friday Giants GM Brian Sabean called re-signing Pence the first action item among the “heavy lifting” the club hoped to achieve before the free-agency period begins five days after the World Series. After hopefully reaching an agreement with Pence they planned to turn attention to Tim Lincecum and Javier Lopez.

Pence’s value has never been greater to the Giants – and not just because he hit his career-best 26th home run to help Ryan Vogelsong another former Willie Mac winner end a difficult season with a victory.

Pence’s speech hit all the right notes – and it was a challenge for him since he’s more of a small-group orator.

“I was so nervous oh my gosh” Pence said. “Words are tough to express how honored and how humbled and how grateful I am. I think the smile on my face showed you what was going on inside.”

His teammates gave him a sunflower seed shower in the dugout a nod to his pregame speeches that turned the dugout into a revival tent before every postseason game last October.