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By now, you’ve read the umpteenth take on the Pence trade from the perspective of a Phillies fan, but what are Astros fans saying about the trade?
But this move had to happen. Because the Astros called him up in April, he got an extra year of arbitration. It’s not impossible to think that Pence could earn $25m over the next two years of arbitration. A team like the Astros can’t have that. He’s simply becoming too expensive, and to be able to have this kind of leverage – a good, young player, with years of team control, in the prime of his career – is a rare opportunity. I know Drayton loves Hunter Pence, probably like a son, maybe like a forbidden lover. But this is about winning for the next ten years, not staring at a guy in right field and thinking, “What a swell player.”
To think that Pence is the only marketable player the Astros have is ridiculous, and a sign that maybe the Astros need a better PR staff.
It’s amazing the Astros were even able to do this, considering their draft history over the past eight years. This is the flip-side of developing talent – to trade them for more prospects in the event that you simply cannot compete with the hand that you’re dealt. It’s similar to spending $5 on a scratch-off, winning $10, and then buying more scratch-offs. That’s what rebuilding is: constantly trying to hit the jackpot. It might not happen, but you have to try. For the Astros, sentimentality hasn’t gotten them anywhere.
Good luck, Hunter Pence. Thank you for being good.
It is decidedly risky by the Astros to give up a good player like Pence for no proven players, but it’s a gamble that I like and that I view as necessary. They needed to bolster their farm system, and frankly, the way this season is going they don’t need any major league ready players. Taking two top prospects is a gamble I’ll take every time. You never know when a deal could be like when the Astros sent Freddy Garcia, John Halama and Carlos Guillen to the Mariners for Randy Johnson, only to have all three become key players for the club for many years.
Getting two top prospects for a player that is probably due for a regression is a very nice deal. Pence is a career .290 hitter who is batting .309 right now. But his career second half numbers aren’t very impressive and he’s hitting .200 since the All Star break. His 3.0 WAR is the highest it’s been since his rookie year. His trade value may have never been higher than it was right now, and with the bidding war between the Phillies, Braves and perhaps as many as four other teams, the Astros probably got the best value they ever would have for Pence.
And it’s important to remember that they still have their best players. According to Baseball Reference, Pence’s WAR the last three years is 6.3. But Michael Bourn’s is 12.0 and Wandy Rodriguez’s is 9.6. To get two top prospects, even risky ones, for your third or fourth best player is a really nice trade-off.
Pence was pulled from Friday’s game with the Brewers and was somewhat emotional as he told his teammates good bye. He’s going to a Philadelphia team with a couple of former Astros that he played with in Brad Lidge and Roy Oswalt. Pence will also provide an upgrade offensively over currentl Phillies right fielder Domonic Brown in the short-term.
It’s the third big-time trade Ed Wade has done with Philadelphia, and this time, it centered on some very big name prospects. Both Cosart and Singleton are good gets, even if I’m a little more down on them than most people will be.