The Houston Astros have apparently reached out to free-agent outfielder Hunter Pence with an offer to return to the ballclub.
The Astros new regime of GM James Click and manager Dusty Baker aren’t wasting any time to make their mark on this team. According to reports, an offer has been made to former Houston outfielder Hunter Pence.
The 36-year-old is certainly no stranger to fans of the Astros. Houston drafted Pence in the 2nd round of the 2004 MLB June Amateur Draft out of the University of Texas, Arlington. Pence made his Major League debut with the Astros in 2007 and was a fixture in their outfield until he was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies late in the 2011 season for four Minor League prospects.
Pence had a superb rookie season slashing .322/.360/.539 with 17 home runs and 69 RBIs, earning him third place in the Rookie of the Year voting that season. The Texan native made himself a fan favorite right out of the gate. He was also selected to the All-Star team twice while wearing the Houston uniform.
He played last season for the Texas Rangers after spending seven seasons with the San Francisco Giants. Pence bounced back with the Texans slashing .297/.358/.552 with a .910 OPS slugging 18 homers and knocking in 59 runs in 83 games. He was a finalist for the 2019 American League Comeback Player of the Year.
The addition of Pence to the Astros roster would create an extremely crowded outfield with Micheal Brantley, George Springer, Josh Reddick, Kyle Tucker, Myles Straw, and DH Yordan Alvarez already on the 40-man roster. An extremely talented outfield to sat the least, but is there really room for everyone.
The teams will be able to have 26 players on their active rosters this season, versus 25 in the past. But would they use that extra roster spot for an outfielder? I’m guessing that it will be utilized by either an extra pitcher or a third catcher for depth. Is there a trade coming?
There has been speculation of the possibility of Josh Reddick getting placed on the trading block and unloading his $13 million salary. After all, Pence would definitely come in quite a bit cheaper than that. Springer and Straw are currently the only two right-handed batters in the outfield, so adding another righty would make sense.
Whether Pence and the Astros reach an agreement is yet to be seen, but it would be nice to see Pence back in that Houston uniform. Plus, a righty/lefty platoon situation with Hunter Pence and Kyle Tucker in right field could be intriguing.