Hey, let's trade Hunter Pence!
The party line from the national media tells us that the Astros have a horrible minor league organization, but in reality, minor league director Bobby Heck has done a fantastic job of cleaning up Tim Purpura's mess by drafting and signing talented players, most of whom are in A or AA ball currently. The upper reaches of the minors are still a wasteland, though. A trade for prospects at this level would make the 2011 and 2012 Astros much deeper than the current team.
Like it or not, Pence is the best major league trading chip that the Astros have right now. The question is whether the organization is willing to part ways with a player that they've prematurely crowned the next king of the franchise. Oh, the weeping and wailing, the gnashing of radio teeth that will result if Pence is shipped out. The good news is that the real heir apparent is still here, and his name is Michael Bourn.
Is that how that works? A trade for AA/AAA prospects would make the organization deeper? Hm. Never would have thought that...