Hunter Pence rumors? Again?
We know. We know. It was a source of pain last season, when we got your hopes up about Pence. This year we promise to be easier in regard to the “Pence to the Pirates” talk.
You didn’t hear the Pence news? Yeah, we didn’t hear too much either. And Pence just recently discovered the news he will be on his way out. No, he did not injure himself doing back flips.
The Phillies continue to signal to clubs that they are eager to move right fielder Hunter Pence, who could earn $13 million to $14 million next season in his final year of arbitration.
Are the Phillies seriously considering moving Pence? He is in his prime. 17 homers this year. Everybody thinks they are in in the wild card race. Everybody wants a bat… there aren’t many that are bigger and available right now, even though some in Philly point toward the streaky production by Pence at the plate and wonder if he is more a piece-of-the-puzzle type player than being the go-to guy.
The Pirates tried to make a move on Pence last season, so the interest is there, if only the Astros then-GM Ed Wade would have paid attention.
So, we guess the love affair between Philly and Pence is about to go through some shaky times – especially after Pence found out he was on the block.
“Today is the first day I’ve heard of it, so it hasn’t really sunk in or anything,” Pence said.
The Phillies are consistently at the top of attendance in baseball, but the love/hate relationship with the seemingly win-all-the-time Phillies and their die-hard-all-the-time fans doesn’t seem divided on the subject of Pence. In fact, most Phillies fans we tweeted and texted tonight seem unfazed. Most understand that Pence is a big chip, and his value will only be reduced if he isn’t moved at the deadline. One would think the Phillies would want a third baseman or perhaps a shortstop project: a player like Alan Hansen would almost be a lock to have to be included along with a few others with one being a pitcher that you know the name of for certain.
But we digress.
We heard Pirates scouts were at the Phillies big comeback tonight that was led by the 29-year old Pence. The more you look around at what bats are available, the more it seems the Phillies RF could be the grade-A choice for buyers at the deadline. Especially with Carlos Quentin and Edwin Encarnacion being off the market. Ruben realizes this fact, and like any savvy GM, he is going to cash in and attempt to avoid paying the would-be growing luxury tax over multiple years.
For the Pirates, a big bat like Pence has strings though…
The strings attached are that the Pirates would need to give up big prospects, and take on even more serious coin. It says here, Pence to the Bucs is a pipe dream. The Pirates don’t have the stroke to get a Pence deal done.