Hunter Pence traded to the Giants

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UPDATE: Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com reports that the deal is done and about to be announced.

1:32 PM: Heyman reports that Nate Schierholtz is in the deal too. That at least gives the Phillies and outfielder. Heyman likewise says that a pitcher could be going to Philly, making this a 3-for-1 deal. UPDATE:  The pitcher is minor league reliever Seth Rosin.

12:29 PM: Ruben Amaro is taking no prisoners. Mere minutes after word of the completion of the Shane Victorino trade, Jon Heyman reports that the Giants have agreed to acquire Hunter Pence from the Phillies. There is word from the Giants, however, that the deal is not yet done.  General reporterly consensus is settling on the notion that it’s probably almost done, but some details need sorted. The devil is in the details, of course.

The Giants are reported to be sending back catching prospect Tommy Joseph. No word yet if any other players are going to Philly, but Gary Brown, Brandon Belt or Kyle Crick are all reported to NOT be part of the deal.  The Giants are reported to be picking up a “chunk” of Pence’s 2012 salary.

Pence is hitting .271/.336/.447 on the year with 17 homers and 59 RBI.  He’s arbitration eligible next season.

Joseph, who just turned 21, is hitting .260/.313/.391 at Double-A Richmond of the Eastern League. He’s still young for his league, of course, and he has shown nice power in his previous two minor league seasons.  Given that Carlos Ruiz is going to be a free agent after 2013 — and given that he will be entering his age-35 season the year after that — you have to figure the Phillies view Joseph as the heir apparent.

The Pirates are, not surprisingly, leaning against trading Andrew McCutchen

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Over the winter there was serious talk about the Pirates trading Andrew McCutchen to the Washington Nationals. His move to left field to allow Starling Marte to take over center further served to make McCutchen a less important part of the Pirates long term plans.

Then the season began, Marte got suspended for PEDs and, after a bumpy start, McCutchen caught fire. He hit .411/.505/.689 in June he has a .333/.444/.561 line in the month of July. For the year he’s now at .292/.384/.507 with 17 homers and 57 RBI. Even with Marte back on the roster, McCutchen is the Pirates’ center fielder. What’s more, the Pirates, after beginning the season slowly have righted the ship somewhat and are now only three games back in the NL Central.

All of which makes this, from Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, unsurprising:

That option is a quite reasonable $14.5 million, so it seems sorta crazy that they wouldn’t pick it up. Of course if they remain coy enough about it for now perhaps someone will bowl them over with an offer. Letting McCutchen walk seems insane. Unloading him for a hefty haul would, well, still be kinda crazy given how popular McCutchen is with the fan base, but not truly insane.

The Brewers are talking to the Tigers about Ian Kinsler, Justin Wilson

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The Brewers were rumored last week to have been “aggressive” in talks for Tigers reliever Justin Wilson. ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports, however, that the talks are a bit more wide-ranging than that.

Crasnick says that the two clubs are also discussing Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler, potentially in a package deal with Wilson. Crasnick says that the Brewers “would love to have Kinsler,” but their main focus at the moment is pitching help. Of course, the Brewers current second baseman — Jonathan Villar — is hitting a meager .223/.285/.348 in 334 plate appearances.

Kinsler is having a down season for him — .237/.331/.400 — but he’s better than that and, of course, would represent an improvement. He’s under contract through the end of this year but he has a very affordable, $10 million club option for 2018. Wilson will be arbitration-eligible this offseason, so he’s still under team control as well. As such a Kinsler/Wilson package would likely cost the Brewers a high price, so you have to think they’d try to exhaust cheaper options before making such a deal.

The Brewers had been in first place in the NL Central since June 7, but the Cubs caught them yesterday. They’re in a virtual tie, with Chicago percentage points ahead. This should prove to be a very interesting week for the Brewers’ front office.