The Philadelphia Phillies are finally coming to terms with their lost 2012 season and are ready to sell some of their best players for the right price.
Hunter Pence was traded to the City of Brotherly Love almost a year ago to the day (July 31, 2011), in a deal that sent two highly rated prospects (Jarred Cosart, Jonathan Singleton) to the Houston Astros. Another World Series run was the goal.
Now, the plan has changed and the Sporting News is reporting that a slew of Phillies are available including the 29-year-old Pence.
Time is running out with Tuesday’s 4 p.m. ET non-waiver trade deadline quickly approaching, and there has been plenty of interest in Pence.
Here’s the latest involving one of the top hitters available on the market.
The Philadelphia Phillies have agreed to trade Hunter Pence to the San Francisco Giants in exchange for outfielder Nate Schierholtz, catcher Tommy Joseph and right-handed pitcher Seth Rosin.
#Phillies make trade official: Hunter Pence and cash to the San Francisco Giants for OF Nate Schierholtz, C Tommy Joseph and RHP Seth Rosin.— Jake Kaplan (@jakemkaplan) July 31, 2012
This deadline deal makes sense for both parties, as the Giants are making a push to win the NL West—currently in a deadlock with the Los Angeles Dodgers and have the Arizona Diamondbacks in striking distance—while the Phils have accepted that this season is a loss and are selling off expensive, soon-to-be free agents.
Pence was a member of the team for barely a year and is due to make $10.4 million this season before reaching arbitration in 2013.
Schierholtz is a solid platoon player, Joseph is a decent prospect and Rosin has some upside. It’s not a bad deal for a Phillies team that isn’t in contention and a great move for the Giants.
UPDATE: Tuesday, July 31 at 2:00 p.m. ET by Alex Kay
Pence has passed his physical and will soon be the latest member of the San Francisco Giants.
Andre Baggarly of CSN Bay Area first reported the news and should have some more updates shortly from the team.
Giants expect to announce Pence deal shortly. Physical passed.
— Andrew Baggarly (@CSNBaggs) July 31, 2012
----End of Update----
UPDATE: Tuesday, July 31 at 1:05 p.m. ET by Alex Kay
Jim Bowden of ESPN has found that the deal in place for Pence will go through once the player passes a physical and medical exam.
An agreement on players have been reached between Phillies & Giants on Pence pending physicals/medicals.....just to be clear— JIM BOWDEN (@JimBowdenESPNxm) July 31, 2012
Barring an unforeseen setback, expect this to be officially announced by the ball club soon.
----End of Update----
UPDATE: Tuesday, July 31 at 12:40 p.m. ET by Alex Kay
Andrew Baggarly of CSN Bay Area is reporting that the Giants are maintaining that this deal is not done. The Giants VP has vehemently denied his organization has finalized the trade for Hunter Pence.
From Giants VP Bobby Evans on reports Pence deal is done: "Not accurate. No deal. Working through many options."— Andrew Baggarly (@CSNBaggs) July 31, 2012
----End of Update----
The San Francisco Giants have reached an agreement to acquire Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Hunter Pence.
#SFGiants agree to acquire hunter pence— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) July 31, 2012
This is a major coup for a team locked in a tough race with the Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks for the NL West pennant.
Pence’s time with the Phillies was quite short, getting traded there in the summer of 2011 in order to bolster a World Series run that never came to fruition.
Now that Philly has realized they aren’t contenders in 2012, they have agreed to ship off Pence just hours before the 4 p.m. ET deadline.
UPDATE: Tuesday, Aug. 31 at 12:15 a.m. ET
The latest buzz on Pence continues to involve the Giants.
ESPN analyst Jim Bowden reports that discussions continue, but the Giants are refusing to part ways with one key minor leaguer:
Giants continue to pursue Hunter Pence with Phillies but NOT close to a deal at this time and are NOT going to include Gary Brown PERIOD— JIM BOWDEN (@JimBowdenESPNxm) July 31, 2012
Brown, 23, has a .290/.351/.409 line with seven home runs and 37 RBI in 490 plate appearances for Double-A Richmond this season.
While Brown may be off the table, it’s certainly a sign that the Giants are indeed interested in acquiring Pence.
It’s no secret that in addition to Pence, Shane Victorino and Juan Pierre are also on the Phillies’ list of players on the trading block.
Yet according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports, Pence is the main man to go:
Victorino joins Dempster and Broxton as a must-go free agent, though executives say the Phillies haven't shopped him nearly as aggressively as Pence, who could make upward of $14 million through arbitration next season.
What exactly are the Phillies looking for in a potential deal for Pence...?
Pence, who will be arbitration eligible at the end of the year, is currently hitting .271 with 17 home runs, 59 RBI and a .336 OBP.
Not jaw-dropping numbers, but he’s a career .290 hitter with 471 career RBI in over five years of MLB experience.
Pence is a proven commodity who would solidify right field for whatever team he lands with.
Considering he’ll be a free agent at the end of the season, don’t expect a ton of minor league talent in return. Nevertheless, at least one high-level prospect will have to be involved for the Phillies to pull the trigger according to Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com:
Most interest is on Vic, Blanton. Phils have pushed Pence but want big return. Phils still have more than 24 hours to max return.— Jim Salisbury (@JSalisburyCSN) July 30, 2012
While nobody is sure how much money the Giants are willing to take on at the deadline, they are currently tied for the lead in the National League West and could certainly use a bat like Pence’s to bolster their lineup.
Entering action Monday, the Giants are 26th in baseball scoring a mere 401 runs.
KPIX-TV in San Francisco sports director Dennis O’Donnell reported Sunday that minor league catcher Tommy Joseph would be involved, but it needed the approval of ownership.
Surrendering multiple prospects while adding significant payroll would certainly suggest the Giants are all-in on the 2012 postseason run.
But maybe not.
CSNBay Area reports that the Giants have denied the rumor, quoting Giants vice president Bobby Evans who said: “No truth to the rumor.”
Obviously he’s going to say that so don’t take too much stock into Evans response.
The Orioles are only two games back of the final wild card in the American League entering play Monday, and are interested in bolstering their lineup with Pence according to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun:
The team could certainly use a right fielder like Pence considering they rank 25th in batting average (.241) and 27th in on-base percentage (.304).
Yet as ESPN’s Jason A. Churchill reminds us, the O’s have been talking with everybody about starting pitching, so it remains to be seen what their No. 1 priority is at the moment.
Maybe the Phillies are going to play out the string with Pence after all.
According to Heyman of CBS Sports, Pence has been told he’ll be staying in Philadelphia into the month of August:
#phils have told lee & pence they would NOT be traded at various times. speaking generally, gm amaro noted plans change— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) July 30, 2012
Yet as Heyman notes, GM Ruben Armaro is living by his “plans change” mantra, so it’s hard to digest this one.
Would the Phillies front office be so cruel to give Pence a false sense of security? Or is that just the way it goes around the trade deadline? Or is he really safe?
At this point nobody really knows…perhaps not even the Phillies.