Today we are going to look at the most coveted trade piece the Astros have in right fielder Hunter Pence. The guy is having a career year and there are a number of teams that need outfield help.
Hits: 111 (leads the Astros)
Doubles: 24 (tied for second)
Home Runs: 11 (leads the Astros)
RBI: 61 (leads the Astros)
Batting Average: .316 (leads the Astros)
Looking at the stats, Hunter Pence is the Astros offense. The guy leads the teams in a number of categories, not to mention three separate hit streaks over 10 games. He has done all this without a whole lot of help, which makes it even more impressive.
What he brings to the table?
Hustle, Heart, 100% effort all the time. Sometimes you hear people describe players as “energy guys”, which is a nice way of saying they try really hard but can’t really play. Well Pence is an energy guy who can play and will only get better as he is entering the prime of his career. He has hit 25 home runs each of the past three seasons and is on pace to get close to that number again this year. He is also under team control until 2014, although he is making 6.9 million dollars this year which will most likely go up in arbitration next season.
Where might he end up?
I still believe that the chances Pence is traded at the deadline are less than 50% but GM Ed Wade should be listening to any offers that come across his desk. It has been rumored that Pittsburgh has been scouting Pence and even though we would be trading within the division, I think that would be a good place as they have a very deep farm system. Other teams I think will be interested if Pence becomes available would be the Atlanta Braves or Philadelphia Phillies who need help in their outfield.
The Astros hold all the leverage in Pence trade negotiations because we don’t have to trade him. Jim Crane could see Pence as a cornerstone in rebuilding this franchise and sign him to a long term deal which wouldn’t be bad considering he is just starting to show what he can really do and has become the face of this franchise.