Phillies acquire Hunter Pence from Astros

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10:00 p.m EDT update: CSNPhilly.com’s Jim Salisbury confirms the deal, with the Phillies giving up Singleton, Cosart, pitching prospect Josh Reid and a fourth player still to be determined for Pence.

9:00 p.m. EDT update: Rosenthal reports that the Astros will get first baseman Jonathan Singleton, right-hander Jarred Cosart and two players to be named in return for Pence.  Rosenthal says the PTNBs will not be major prospects, which would seem to rule out May.

8:50 p.m. EDT update: Rosenthal is now reporting that the Phillies are close to a deal for Pence and that it’s expected to be completed tonight.  No word yet on the properties involved, but the Astros were believed to be asking for 1B Jonathan Singleton, RHP Jarred Cosart and RHP Trevor May.

7:42 p.m. EDT update: FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal just tweeted that the Phillies and Astros are “progressing toward” a Pence deal. More as it comes in.

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Because we here at HardballTalk are all Phillies, all of the time.

SI.com’s Jon Heyman just tweeted that Hunter Pence is “very likely to be moved now” and that it appears the Phillies are favored, with the Indians, Red Sox and Reds also in the mix.

Meanwhile, FOXSports.com’s Jon Paul Morosi reports that the Phillies “remain active in talks” for San Diego’s available relievers, but that they prefer Mike Adams to Heath Bell.

Bell had already created one of the crazier rumors of the day, in which the Padres were supposedly asking for left-hander Derek Holland and top shortstop prospect Jurickson Profar in return for Bell.  We didn’t put much stock in that one, though.  The Rangers woudn’t give up Profar alone for Bell, and it’d be a surprise if they parted with Holland in such a trade.

Bell is also believed to be a target of the Cardinals.

We’ve gone over the Pence stuff time and time again, but it’s worth noting that ESPN’s Buster Olney recently reported that the Phillies have no intention of parting with Domonic Brown in a Pence trade, whether it’s a two- or a three-team deal.

The Astros, who reportedly aren’t as high on Brown as some, are believed to have asked for the Phillies’ best position prospect (Jonathan Singleton) and their two best pitching prospects (Jarred Cosart and Trevor May) in a Pence deal.

Update: ESPN’s Jayson Stark has multiple sources telling him that there’s no more talk of a three-team deal that would bring Pence to Philadelphia.  If it happens, it’ll just be the two teams.

Anibal Sanchez accepts optional assignment to Triple-A

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The Tigers announced on Monday that pitcher Anibal Sanchez has accepted an optional assignment to Triple-A Toledo. Pitcher Warwick Saupold was recalled from Toledo to take Sanchez’s roster spot.

Sanchez, 33, continued to struggle this season pitching out of the bullpen. He gave up 26 runs (21 earned) on 34 hits and nine walks with 22 strikeouts in 21 innings. Nine of those 34 hits were home runs. Sanchez finished the 2015 season with a 4.99 ERA and last season with a 5.87 ERA, so he’s had a rough go of it in recent years.

The decision to go to Triple-A was Sanchez’s, Anthony Fenech of the Free Press reports. Sanchez wants to be stretched out as a starting pitcher again.

Braves release James Loney

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Just a few days after inking him to a minor league deal, the Braves have released first baseman James Loney, the team announced on Monday. Loney became expendable when the Braves acquired Matt Adams from the Cardinals on Saturday as a replacement for the injured Freddie Freeman.

Loney, 33, appeared in two games at Triple-A Gwinnett. He had one hit, a single, and one walk in eight plate appearances.

Loney will likely have to wait for another team to deal with an injured first baseman or DH before he can secure another contract.