Blog Entry

Should the Astros trade Hunter Pence?

Posted on: June 27, 2011 8:03 pm
Edited on: June 27, 2011 8:17 pm

By Evan Brunell

The Astros are in a tough position with a much-needed rebuild blocked by the transfer of ownership from Drayton McLane to Jim Crane. Houston began the rebuild process last season by dealing Lance Berkman and Roy Oswalt, but have few other players to deal that can fetch value in a deal. One such player is Hunter Pence, but how can Crane sign off on trading the face of the franchise before he even assumes control?

That's a quandary facing GM Ed Wade as Pence is getting increasingly expensive. For a team that needs to rebuild, Pence could bring in a couple vital pieces to aid that rebuilding, but it's not a good idea for a new owner to come in and immediately deal the team's biggest drawing card. Complicating matters is that Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal reports club officials consider Pence a "core player for the future."

Except that Pence, while valuable, is not a star. He's the excellent complementary player every team needs to win the World Series, but isn't someone you build around. Houston needs to keep that in perspective; Pence looks better with the motley crew of teammates he has in Houston than he would in the Red Sox lineup.

At 28, Pence is actually enjoying his best season since 2007, his rookie year. His 22 doubles lead the National League and has contributed nine home runs, landing a line of .315/.356/.490. In this depressed offensive climate, that output creates 38 percent more runs than a league-average hitter, according to weighted runs created, a statistic that measures offensive output by runs and how it compares to league average. That ties the right fielder for 30th overall as baseball's most productive hitter.

There's no question that many teams would give up plenty to acquire Pence. That's why incoming owner Jim Crane needs to put public relations considerations aside and consider a Pence trade if the return makes sense. The Astros simply need to rebuild, a process they have already started. It makes no sense to hang onto Pence when he's making $6.9 million and has two more years of arbitration ahead of him, and with an Astros team unlikely to challenge for the division before he becomes a free agent.

The Phillies desperately need a right-handed outfielder, and while GM Ruben Amaro has made noises about wanting to upgrade the bullpen and having minimal dollars available to tack onto payroll, it's tough to imagine Amaro passing up on Pence who could pair with Domonic Brown and Shane Victorino for a high-octane outfield over the next few seasons. But it's not just Philadelphia who needs outfielders -- Rosenthal mentions the Braves, who are deep in pitching depth and could move some of it for Pence. Atlanta is certainly a better match than Philadelphia, at least on paper, but the team has a $91 million payroll and has invested a ton of future dollars into second baseman Dan Uggla. Are they willing to add another player who will reach double-digits in his annual salary before long?

The odds are that Pence stays and Wade starts the rebuilding process by dealing one of his two starting pitchers in Wandy Rodriguez or Brett Myers -- at least for the rest of the season. The problem is that Wade or his replacement GM will be dealing with a market less voracious for Pence in the offseason. The best move Houston can do to secure its future would be to trade Pence on or before July 31, but the ownership change will torpedo the chances of a deal.

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 22, 2011 5:52 am
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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 5, 2011 1:30 pm

Should the Astros trade Hunter Pence?

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Since: Oct 7, 2011
Posted on: October 19, 2011 2:25 pm

Should the Astros trade Hunter Pence?

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Since: Oct 13, 2010
Posted on: July 3, 2011 11:54 pm

Thats right,trade the whole dang team

This is one of the most horrible times ever to be an Astro fan.  This is as bad as the time we traded Cincinatti a whole World Series team.  Now were building the Phillies a World Series team.  Might as well go ahead and buy a cap with a big P on it.
Been a fan since they were .45s, this is just a crime what Drayton has done to the Stros fan base just to inflate his pocket book.  He should be hung by his ankles outside Minute Maid Park and flogged.
We can only pray that our new owner is a baseball fan and wants to build a winning team, if we can just keep Drayton from totally selling anything that can hit or pitch a baseball. 
Please Drayton, go away soon as possible.

Since: Jul 2, 2011
Posted on: July 2, 2011 4:07 pm

Should the Astros trade Hunter Pence?

Pence is the cornerstone for the astros, but Wade who I think is a quack is dismantleing the astros like an old ship yard.Wade has to be one of the worst GM's in baseball history. He did the same same thing to the phillies when he was their gm and the phillies were rotten during his time there. It's no coincidence that the phillies won 2 NL and 1 world series pennnet the years right after Wade was let go from philly.The astros need to let wade go!!!

Since: Dec 4, 2006
Posted on: June 28, 2011 5:24 pm

Should the Astros trade Hunter Pence?

I hate to agree with a Hawkeye fan on anything, but in this case I'll make an exception. Trading Pence would be the stupidest thing the Astros could do at this point. If they could unload Carlos Lee's contract, they would be in much better shape. The Astros farm system has  been gutted for years and picking up one or two prospects will not change that fact. It's better to keep a guy who can be a 20/20 player who hits .290 than trying to bring in a has been in two years to take over that spot (look at those "rebuilding" teams who ship off a great, young player and end up bringing in the Lyle Overbays, Orlando Hudsons and Carlos Pena's of the world and paying them as much as the young player would have made (if not more).

Houston should keep Pence long term and try to not sell the farm at the trade deadline anymore - as in year's past.

Since: Mar 22, 2008
Posted on: June 28, 2011 4:53 pm

Should the Astros trade Hunter Pence?

this guy must be a gator writing this. never watch any of their games and act like they know anything about the team. hello moron he is only their future. if he leaves its not because the astros want him gone.  next you are going to say peyton manning should sign with the jags

Since: Jul 5, 2007
Posted on: June 28, 2011 12:44 pm

Should the Astros trade Hunter Pence?

A "complimentary" player??  What?  Darnell McDonald is a "complimentary" player.  Pence has hit 25 homers and batted around .280 for the last three years and you say he's a "complimentary" player??  And do you really believe his production would suffer in a line up like the Red Sox where he would actually have support around him???  My god, in that lineup the only thing that would change would be his RBI totals;  that would go way up.  But I'm sure the Houston Astros appreciate a know-nothing "writer" telling them what they need to keep in perspective. 

Since: Oct 26, 2009
Posted on: June 28, 2011 9:40 am

Should the Astros trade Hunter Pence?

Trade Pence?  Great idea.  And then let's give away the stadium as the grand prize for bingo at Our Lady of Stupid Ideas.  While no one knows what he will do with free agency, getting rid of him now because he might leave is stupid.  And I'm not so sure that someone who is in the top 5 in hitting should be dismissed so quickly as not a star.

Since: May 9, 2010
Posted on: June 28, 2011 3:44 am

Should the Astros trade Hunter Pence?

So why not trade him to get Jordan Schaefer and Julio Teheran?

There's no way the Astros would be getting Teheran in a trade. I could see Schafer and maybe a few low ball prospects for Pence but Teheran is coveted way too much by the Braves.

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