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Astros Rumors: The Latest on Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn

We're closing in on the big day, but Hunter Pence is still an Astro so that's pretty much the main topic of discussion these days. This morning, Buster Olney started things by noting that "there's a huge bidding war going on" for Pence right now, though interest in Bourn is heating up as well. Here are the latest reports and rumors on Houston's star outfielders:

  • The Astros are seeking pitching in return for Pence, according to's Jon Heyman. This bodes with their desire to make a deal with Atlanta, but Jayson Stark noted in his recent article that Houston has already turned down one offer from Atlanta, and the Braves may be moving on at this point. Heyman adds that the Phillies are willing to take about Pence with Houston right up until the deadline, because "Pence is the guy" for them.
  • And the Pence story continues to get more interesting. From ESPN's Jayson Stark: "The Phillies initially offered their two best prospects, pitcher Jarred Cosart and first baseman Jonathan Singleton, and were told that wasn't enough. The Phillies then offered to include their right fielder, Domonic Brown. But the Astros, according to one team that spoke with them, would prefer to spin Brown elsewhere for multiple prospects than take him themselves." All I have to say is whoa. I don't know exactly what the Astros are thinking right now, but if Pence is still in Houston come August and they were actually offered some combination of Brown, Cosart and Singleton, I'd have to say that the Astros are making a serious mistake.
  • The Astros prefer Atlanta's prospects to Philadelphia's, according to a report from Joel Sherman of the New York Post. But Atlanta apparently won't give up their "key guy" in the deal, which is believed to be lefty starter Mike Minor, per Sherman. This bodes with a recent tweet from Buster Olney that, "There continues to be zero enthusiasm within [the Braves organization] about giving up any of the core 4 pitching prospects-Teheran, Vizcaino, Minor, Delgado."
  • According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the Phillies are the clear favorite to land Pence at this point, although the Reds are showing continued interest.
  • Apparently, the Astros told Pence that he was going to pulled from last night's game due to a trade, but then he wasn't pulled and played anyways, according Heyman. If this is any indication, the Astros are getting closer to completing a deal. And with the reported offers on the table, they probably should be working to get something done.
  • As of right now, there are reports that the Phillies have offered both Jarred Cosart and Jonathan Singleton in a three-player package for Pence. But according to Heyman, "there's a sense out there" that the Phillies may able to complete a deal fairly quickly if they're willing to replace Singleton with Domonic Brown in their offer.
  • Heyman is also reporting that Houston's asking price has been described as "unreasonable" up until now. This certainly makes sense; the Phillies have already been offering a monster package with two elite prospects in it, and apparently the Astros want them to improve upon that? That certainly qualifies as unreasonable to me.
  • Taking that level of "unreasonableness" to a whole new level, Jim Bowden of recently tweeted a rumor that Trevor May could be the third piece of the Cosart-Singleton three-player package that the Phillies and Astros have discussed. May, 21, is regarded as arguably the best non-Cosart, non-Singleton prospect in the system; he's currently posting a 2.79 FIP with 137 strikeouts in 105 innings with High Single-A Lakewater this season.
  • We've already heard about Washington's interest in the 28-year-old Bourn, but now we can add the Cincinnati Reds to the mix. Bourn, one of the game's great defensive outfielders and base-runners, seems like an odd fit for the Reds, though; they already employ one of the game's top young center fielders in Drew Stubbs. Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports did suggest that Bourn could be a good fit the Reds this morning, though, given the Reds' need for a leadoff hitter. I'm not sure that the Reds can properly take advantage of his elite defensive skills, though.