Calling the 2011 Phillies "one of the greatest teams ever assembled to not win the World Series," outfielder Hunter Pence says the 2012 edition will have a hunger to take care of unfinished business.
"I'm getting ready every day," Pence said during an interview on WIP. "We have a lot of unfinished business to do this year. It can't get here soon enough. I think a lot of us are looking forward to this year."
He also used the phrase "World Series or bust" in describing the mood of the team as the countdown to spring training continues.
"Our goals are to the stars right now," he said. "It's World Series or bust and I'm going to do whatever it takes for that."
Pence was asked if he replays in his mind moments from the Phillies' loss in the National League Division Series to the St. Louis Cardinals.
"It haunted me for a little bit," he said. "Not something I really want to dwell on. I think at this point it's turned me into more of incredible hunger this offseason. I've been just every day taking it out and really firing me up for this season. I would have conversations with Chase and several of the veterans after winning the divsion. I'd say, I know you've been here a lot, this is a big deal, this is awesome and enjoy it. [They'd say] Yeah, it's a big deal but it's not ... It doesn't matter if you don't get it done in the playoffs. I learned a lot, but it changed my viewpoint on a lot of things. I understand a little more of what's needed. I think it's something with baseball, there was not necessarily anything that Charlie could have done or any of us could have done, it's a game of small, small things ... It wasn't in the cards for us, no pun intended."
As for the Cardinals going on to win it all, Pence said, "You hit the hot team. It's unfortunate that it ended that way. I still feel like we were a lot better than we ended up, but that's the way it goes in baseball. You play 10 of them, you might have been 5-5 but they got the first one on us."
In reflecting on last season, Pence said, "We had a great season. For all the stars to line up, as whole, it was a wonderful game 162, a wonderful palyoffs, all the way up and down. There were so many late games. we definitely have something to come back to this year. I think we're still looking strong. There is a lot of talk with all these trades and new signings that the Phillies are getting old, but I think you're going to see a healthier Chase Utley that doesn't have to jump into the season with a knee injury. Those kind of little things you don't take into account."
Pence is the lone arbitration-eligible player not to sign in advance of yesterday's deadline to exchange salary figures. The sides will continue to work on a 1-year deal up until the hearing. Pence went to arbitration last season with Houston and won.
"I haven't heard anything about an extension," he said. "I'm pretty confident we're going to be working on a deal for this year. I still have two years of arbitration, I understand that. I love to be in Philly. I absolutely enjoy every moment -- the organization, the fans, the city, a lot of things to be happy about for being there. I let my agency handle all of the discussion. When they tell me, what the options are, I trust their judgment and go from there."
With Ryan Howard likely not available until May after offseason surgery, Pence could be a possibility to hit fourth in the lineup.
"That's up to Charlie," he said. "It doesn't really matter. Whatever the situation it is, I'm going to go up there and be ready to hit and be ready to do what it takes to win ballgames. Ultimately, that's all that matters -- winning ballgames. My confidence has gotten better every year. I feel like I've learned a little more."