Hunter Pence Pirates: Why Pittsburgh Would Be Wise to Stay Away from Pence
Despite the fact it's going to take an arm and a leg to get him, the MLB rumor mill is still abuzz with the idea of a contender making a deal for Houston Astros right fielder Hunter Pence.
It's still pretty hard to believe it, but the Pittsburgh Pirates are a contender, and they are one of many that have kicked the tires on Pence.
Last week, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported had been scouting Pence, and Pence himself even sounded enthusiastic about the idea of joining the Pirates.
"Who knows?" said Pence. "We play the season hoping to see Cinderella stories. It's fun to watch. Whatever moves are made, we'll see what happens. But [the Pirates] already got a great team and they're competing."
Despite the positive vibes, the trail has gone cold since then. This appears to be because the Pirates turned their attention to New York Mets outfielder Carlos Beltran instead. As it turned out, the Mets dealt Beltran to the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday, and Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported that Beltran didn't want to go to Pittsburgh anyway.
Now that Beltran has spurned them, one wonders if the Pirates will make a final, last-ditch push for Pence. He would, after all, bring the Pirates some much-needed offense, and he's not going to hit free agency until 2014.
It's possible, but the Pirates would be wise to hold off. The Astros' asking price for Pence is astronomically high, and the latest word from SI.com's Jon Heyman is that the Astros are by no means committed to trading Pence. To get him, it sounds like teams are really going to have to wow Astros general manager Ed Wade.
In order to do that, the Pirates would probably have to base a package off of prized hurler Jameson Taillon, and it would also have to include two or three of their best prospects.
That would get the job done, but it's not worth it. Not this year, anyway. Pirates fans probably don't want to hear this, but we're looking at a team that is a pretty obvious overachiever. That much has become clear in the last week or so, in which the Pirates have dropped five of seven to the St. Louis Cardinals and Atlanta Braves. The phrase "reality check" has been widely used.
The good news is that the future is bright for the Pirates. They may be overachieving this year, but the team's success will be legit in a year or two when Taillon and the organization's other top youngsters arrive on the scene. Indeed, the Pirates have talent in their farm system, so they may as well wait for it rather than trading it away.
If all goes well, they won't regret it.
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