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 SI.com'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."