Jayson Stark's new column takes on the Astros and their situation come July:
If we had to pick one club in baseball that has the look of a sure-fire seller in July, we'd pick the Astros. But there are two things to remember: 1) As GM Ed Wade pointed out, the Astros actually have a better record this year (18-30) than they had in late May last year (17-34) -- and last year's team went 59-52 the rest of the way. 2) Until the Astros' sale to Jim Crane is approved (most likely sometime in July), Wade can't even have a conversation with the new owner about his philosophy on team-building.
But at a time in which his club is obviously rebuilding, Wade says he expects to take the same approach this July that he took last July: "Anything that builds the type of depth that will get us where we need to be, it would make sense to explore."
Stark notes that Other Clubs believe Wade would "gladly listen" on Myers, Wandy, Barmes, and Hall. Only two of those guys are having seasons worth giving up more than a jock strap's worth of hamster cage shavings for, and I'll let you figure out the two.
And on Hunter Pence, noting that the Braves, Phillies, and Orioles are interested him?
An executive of a fourth club says he believes there's a "1 million percent chance" Wade would need, essentially, a job-saving haul in return to even consider trading Pence.
"If you're Jim Crane walking in the door," the exec wondered, "how can you trade the one guy on your team who represents that part of Texas -- a blue-collar, hard-nosed player?"
Stark later notes that the Phillies are telling teams they can only really afford what amounts to half of Pence's $6.9m salary.
What say you?