It’s only been a day or two since Buster Olney reported that the Astros would listen to offers for Hunter Pence, but in that time there has been more chatter about him than almost any player on the market. But he may not be on the market at all, actually: Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald was told by a source that Pence won’t be moved by the Astros.
It could be that everyone realized that he wasn’t quite the prize everyone made him out to be. Oh, he’s good. He’s the best hitter the Astros have. But because he was a super two, he has two more rounds of arbitration and could make as much as $9-10 million in 2012 and more again in 2013, sort of killing that “he’s young, cheap and controlled” narrative. It’s also possible that people looked at his splits and realized that Minute Maid Park has been very very good to him. If so, the haul the Astros might have expected may not be all that realistic.
It’s also possible, however, that Ed Wade is stuck as a lame duck GM, with new ownership in the offing but not yet in power, and that he has no mandate to trade Pence. Or it could be something else. One never knows at this time of year.
But if Silverman is right, we’re back to where we were when the week began: Carlos Beltran as the best bat available and then a wide, wide chasm between him and the number two guy.