The Phillies and Braves have reportedly been the more intense pursuers of Pence, but many have inquired. The Red Sox and Reds are among those doing their homework. The Rangers, though, aren’t in the hunt at the moment.
The Astros reportedly backed out of a deal with the Phillies that would have netted them big first baseman Jonathan Singleton and top pitching prospect Jarred Cosart for Pence. Still, it doesn’t sound as though the Phillies have given up on Pence yet.
The Braves have more to offer with a stable of young pitchers that includes Julio Teheran, Arodys Vizcaino, Randall Delgado and Mike Minor, but Teheran probably isn’t on the table and it’s doubtful the Braves would give up two of the others in order to get a deal done.
Speculation is that the Braves would send down Jason Heyward if they were able to land Pence to play right field. Still, it’s worth wondering if that would really leave them any better off. Heyward has hit .231/.306/.400 with four homers and 15 RBI in 130 at-bats since coming off the DL on June 15. Pence is at .277/.336/.387 with two homers and 12 RBI in 119 at-bats over the same span. Pence was certainly better during the first two months of the season, but Heyward was easily the superior player last year.
The Braves, though, would have room for both if they so desired. Left fielder Martin Prado may frequently be needed at third base with Chipper Jones dinged up, and either Pence or Heyward could play some center when everyone is healthy.
The Astros want pitching, pitching and more pitching in return for Pence, and no team has more to offer than the Braves. There’s still almost three days left for something to get done.