Monday, July 25, 2011

On the rumor that the Astros won't trade Pence

Now that we've had some time to simmer down a little bit about Jon Heyman's tweet that the Astros don't intend to move Pence, let's process it a little bit.

*It's still six days before the trade deadline. It's entirely possible that this information "leaked" in order to create furor amongst teams.

*It's also entirely possible that the Astros do fully intend on keeping Pence. It's our guess that he'll be making about $13m in arbitration next year. If they keep Bourn and he makes $6-7m (as we also expect) in arbitration, it means that - with a $60m payroll - the Astros' outfield could be making $39m.

*We've had a few emails accusing of being a Pence-hater, which is preposterous. We all love Hunter Pence. He plays the game the Right Way: All-out and unorthodox. What's not to like about Hunter Pence? I, personally, just know that Pence is in the middle of a career year, at 28 years old. The Astros should have traded Wandy and Myers last year (as Jon Heyman points out), and by holding on to them for one extra year made them...not untradeable, but certainly harder to trade.

Hunter Pence can impact not just this pennant race, but potentially two after that before becoming a free agent. I think we can all agree that it is unlikely that the Astros will be contending for the pennant before Pence can enter free agency. So if he can be traded for three solid prospects, and the Astros can clear his paycheck from the books, why would they not do it?

Keeping Pence while at the same time adhering to Jim Crane's payroll expectations simply can't happen. Pence is the only player the Astros could trade without having to pay the receiving team to take him next year.

*A lot can change before the Trade Deadline.