Astros now showing “willingness” to trade Hunter Pence

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On June 28, Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com heard from sources that the Astros were “unlikely” to trade outfielder Hunter Pence at this summer’s deadline. That remained the line of thinking (and the line of reporting) among most rumor-producing baseball writers through the first three weeks of July.

Until this evening.

According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, the Astros are now showing a “willingness” to trade Pence and rival executives now “expect” that he will be moved.

The Braves and Pirates have already expressed interest, and the list of suitors will only grow as the July 31 trade deadline approaches.

By far Houston’s best player, Pence has hit .315/.356/.478 with 11 home runs and 61 RBI through 399 plate appearances this season. He’s not overly smooth defensively, but he has decent range and a strong arm.

Pence is making $6.9 million this season and could reach $9 million or more next year via salary arbitration. The Astros are also likely to demand a hefty package of young talent in return. A deal isn’t going to come easy, but Pence is now the second-best available bat on this year’s trade market behind the Mets’ Carlos Beltran.

Marlins sign Cameron Maybin

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Tim Healey of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports that the Marlins have signed free agent outfielder Cameron Maybin.

Maybin spent the 2017 season with the Angels and Astros, putting up a line of .228/.318/.365 in 450 plate appearances and appearing at least briefly in the World Series for Houston. That’s not the greatest batting line in the world, but he stole 33 bases in 114 games, so he has his value. Maybe more to fantasy players than a real baseball team, but the fact remains that if you don’t have three guys in the outfield, you’re gonna give up a lot of triples. Maybin will definitely be one of the guys in the outfield, at least part of the time.

This will be Maybin’s second tour of duty with the Marlins, having first come to them in 2007 in the famous — infamous, if you’re a Marlins fan — Miguel Cabrera trade. Maybin spent three seasons with the Marlins in that go-around.