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Astros Rumors: The Latest On Hunter Pence

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In his latest blog post for ESPN Insider, Buster Olney takes a look at the trade market for Houston outfielder Hunter Pence. Reports on Pence have been churning over the past day or so, since Olney first reported that the Astros were showing a willingness to deal Pence in trade discussions. Here are some of the details from Olney's post, which requires an ESPN Insider subscription, although there's way more in the post itself:

  • Looking at a different source on the Pence situation, Peter Gammons tweeted about an hour ago that the Astros can't find a multi-player deal for Pence that they like, which means that the outfielder is likely to stay in Houston. He also notes that some AL teams are concerned about how Houston lefty Wandy Rodriguez might adjust to AL hitting.
  • Moving past the blog post, Olney recently tweeted that the Phillies would like to frame any deal for Pence around right-handed pitcher Vance Worley. Worley, 23, has a 2.02 ERA in 62 innings with the Phillies this year, but he wasn't regarded as a premium prospect coming into the season and it's hard for me to believe that the Astros will accept him as the centerpiece to a Pence deal.
  • A month ago, the perception among GM's was that Pence would be untouchable. But recently, "some officials with other teams say that not only are the Astros willing to talk about Pence, but Houston's conversations seem to be heading for a deal."
  • Olney wonders if incoming owner Jim Crane has reviewed the organization's situation and determined that, with the club in the midst of a massive rebuilding job, Pence won't likely be around by the time that the big league team is back in contention.
  • Teams would like to pursue Pence as an alternative to Carlos Beltran; not only is Pence cheaper this season, but he's still going to be under team control through 2013, so he's a long-term impact acquisition rather than a rental. This could be of immediate interest to a team like the Phillies that doesn't have much financial flexibility.
  • Olney finishes the section on Pence by noting that the Astros have also made it clear to other teams that they're willing to trade starter Wandy Rodriguez in the right deal. Rodriguez is presumably regarded as one of the top pitchers on the market.