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Phillies “are eager to move” Hunter Pence

Jul 24, 2012, 1:40 PM EDT

He can't believe it either. AP

Buried near the bottom of Ken Rosenthal’s latest column on FOXSports.com is this tidbit: “The Phillies continue to signal to clubs that they are eager to move right fielder Hunter Pence.”

Philadelphia traded prospects Jarred Cosart, Jonathan Singleton, Josh Zeid, and Domingo Santana to get Pence from Houston at last year’s trade deadline and he’s played well since then, hitting .288 with 28 homers and an .848 OPS in 150 games.

He also has just one season of team control remaining and figures to earn at least $12 million in 2013 via arbitration, so Pence certainly isn’t going to be a bargain at age 30. Would the Phillies be willing to take significantly less than they gave up to get Pence in order to save that money, add a prospect or two, and clear right field for Domonic Brown?

  1. keithbangedyermom - Jul 24, 2012 at 1:43 PM

    Eager to move because he’s incredibly overrated or to save money so they can choke themselves out with another massive contract to Hamels.

    • paperlions - Jul 24, 2012 at 2:22 PM

      Can’t it be both?

    • thefalcon123 - Jul 24, 2012 at 3:18 PM

      http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2011/12/15/hunter-pence-as-your-2012-nl-mvp/

      Let’s all look through the comments in this article and re-mock these people.

      • delawarephilliesfan - Jul 24, 2012 at 3:28 PM

        Has the 2012 MVP voting happened yet? What if he goes on a tear for the Dodgers? ;)

      • paperlions - Jul 24, 2012 at 3:45 PM

        Nah, Hunter Pence is being Hunter Pence, essentially. He had a couple of prolonged hot streaks, one last year and one his rookie year…otherwise, he’s been this guy the Phillies have had this year (though his defense appears to be falling off a cliff).

      • stex52 - Jul 24, 2012 at 4:00 PM

        Double thumbs up Paper. He is hitting slightly below, but in the range you would expect for his career. Defense is much worse. Not sure why. It’s so much worse I would expect him to bounce back. But he is just being Hunter Pence, within a standard deviation or so.

  2. drmonkeyarmy - Jul 24, 2012 at 1:44 PM

    Pence is a disaster in RF. Hell, might as well give Brown a shot….can’t imagine he would be significantly worse defensively.

    • skeleteeth - Jul 24, 2012 at 1:52 PM

      Yeah and if he fails again you’ve got yourself a backup hot dog vendor…

      • deathmonkey41 - Jul 24, 2012 at 2:31 PM

        Mmmmmmm hotdogs….

  3. Phillies Homer - Jul 24, 2012 at 1:45 PM

    This would be great! Pence is a numbers guy. It’s going to look like he puts up decent stats… but when you watch him play and his general cluelessness for the game… it gets very frustrating!!

    I’d rather see what Dom Brown can do. Defense can’t be much worse!

    • b7p19 - Jul 24, 2012 at 1:57 PM

      ” Pence is a numbers guy” Oh boy, here we go…

      You realize that numbers are good right? Pence is a very good player and well worth $13 mil next year. That said, they need to trade him because he won’t help them win in the time frame of his contract and they need to find out what the ghost of Dom Brown can do while they’re bad and can afford for him to struggle for while.

      • Phillies Homer - Jul 24, 2012 at 2:11 PM

        Do you watch him or the Phillies? My guess is he is on your fantasy baseball team and you’re loving that Yahoo ranks him in the top 75.

        But, the dude goes up there with one thing in mind: “I’m going to close my eyes and swing as hard as I can.” Sure when he connects its good. But, if he had any kind of baseball smarts his numbers would be tremendous. So, many times he’s up there hacking at the first pitch and grounding out or popping up, when a runner is at 3rd with less than two outs. If he would just focus, that’s an easy RBI for him. He has no patience when he’s up in the count… He’s ignorant to the fact that if a guy is on 2nd with no outs, his job is to get him to 3rd… And not to mention his subpar defense.

        He’s good… I’m not saying trade him for peanuts. But, if we can get some prospects or anything else of value… I’m all for it.

      • 12strikes - Jul 24, 2012 at 2:11 PM

        Problem “with numbers” is they lie.
        Do you want a guy that hit 10 home runs, all with you team up by a lot or down by a lot (when they don’t matter) or guy that hits 6 home runs that either tied a game or put your team ahead?

      • b7p19 - Jul 24, 2012 at 2:24 PM

        I don’t have a fantasy baseball team, and I watch plenty of Phillies games. Pence is a little awkward, but he produces and losing him will not make them better.

        Also, numbers do not lie. Numbers = Production = Runs = Wins. Give me the guy that hit’s MORE home runs.

      • paperlions - Jul 24, 2012 at 2:27 PM

        The problem with people that don’t know what they are talking about….is they just make stuff up and act like it is true with nothing to support their narrative.

        This year and for his career, Pence has been his most productive in medium and high leverage situations. See, a nice thing about the numbers…is they actually don’t lie. They are data, that can support an argument if you understand what they mean.

      • Phillies Homer - Jul 24, 2012 at 2:53 PM

        Paperlions, kinda ironic that you provide no data to support your stance.

      • paperlions - Jul 24, 2012 at 3:10 PM

        If you are too lazy to look for yourself (I am guessing it isn’t laziness, you just have no interest in finding out if you are right or wrong), then here:

        Career wOBA in low, medium and high leverage situations: .338, .370, .373

        Career wRC+ in low, medium and high leverage situations: 107, 129, 130

        The difference between low and medium or high leverage situations are even larger this year than during his entire career.

        http://www.fangraphs.com/statsplits.aspx?playerid=8252&position=OF&season=0

      • Alex K - Jul 24, 2012 at 3:28 PM

        According to Fangraphs “Clutch” this year his score is .08 which is basically neutral. His average score for his career is .20 which is also pretty neutral (probably more slightly above average). This year, and his career, Pence has been the same player no matter the situation. In fact he’s been the slightest bit better in the clutch.

        http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=8252&position=OF

        For the Fangraphs explanation of Clutch:

        http://www.fangraphs.com/library/index.php/misc/clutch/

      • Phillies Homer - Jul 24, 2012 at 3:47 PM

        Okay… but in my arguments:

        1) No patience when he’s ahead of the account:
        1-0 Count – .254
        2-0 Count – .214 (embarrassing)
        3-0 Count – .375 (This is also laughable considering the situation, no reason for it to be below .400 or .500 for that matter)
        3-1 Count – .333 (See above)
        2-1 Count – .295

        2) BA with runners in scoring position: .214

      • bleedgreen - Jul 24, 2012 at 4:57 PM

        His hits are generally bullshit hits. They’re weak ground balls that sometimes find a hole. His hitting mechanics are awful. I like the guy, I’m a Phils fan, but not for $13Mil. I wish we could get rid of Rollins too. Maybe we can get Kemp and Kershaw for Hamels, Rollins, Victorino and Pence?

        OK, let me dream about it OK?

    • redux23 - Jul 24, 2012 at 2:13 PM

      “Pence is a numbers guy.”

      Heaven forbid a guy puts up numbers.

      The funny thing though is that he hasn’t put up numbers. He is trailing his career average in nearly every category. Houston sold high and made out well. Phillies are going to be selling low on him and probably won’t get much as much of a return as they would like.

      • metalhead65 - Jul 24, 2012 at 2:23 PM

        hey phillies homer,how about you trade him to the reds for drew stubbs? he is batting .222 but he can play defense but more importantly he is fast. and according to dusty that is all that matters not that he can’t on base and use his speed.

  4. deathmonkey41 - Jul 24, 2012 at 1:53 PM

    I often wondered how bad someone could actually be in a corner outfield position (outside of a weak arm), until I saw the Yankees play Jason Nix and Equardo Nunez there…well, actually playing Nunez anywhere is kind of scary, at least Nix has been good in the infield. I guess it could get worse with Dom Brown, but then again, it’s not like Pence is going to qualify for a gold glove if they keep him.

  5. pinkfloydprism - Jul 24, 2012 at 2:04 PM

    The Phillies brass are the new Marlins Brass

    • keithbangedyermom - Jul 24, 2012 at 3:06 PM

      Amaro will be fired within three years. He is god-awful. But by all mean, keep him around longer.

  6. xmatt0926x - Jul 24, 2012 at 2:06 PM

    I have to agree with the anti-pence sentiment here. It’s not hatred of the guy or the thought that he’s a horrible player. He’s just somewhat of a dissapointment on offense and getting close to “butcher” category in right field. He makes the kind of mistakes in right field that you swear were just a one-time blunder until yousee him do it again and again. He may drive in 100 rbi’s but he gives 30 of those right back with his horrible right field play. He’s a likeable guy but he’s just very frustrating to watch. You know it’s bad when the manager and broadcasters can’t even hold back with their criticism of him. They don’t blast him of course but they give subtle jabs and talk about how he takes no game plan up to the plate. He just flies open and hacks away. Horrible RISP average even with the decent rbi figures. He’s a fine player on the team as long as he’s very complimentary and not “the guy” and thats the problem as his salary will start to get into the $15 million plus range. I was all for Ruben going after him since I feel that teams should go for it all when the opportunity is there but I didn’t know he was going to give up 3 top prospects. He isn’t worth what was given up to get him but that kind of stuff happens when you’re trying to win it all soit’s not the end of the world. But going forward he’s not worth 5 or 6 years at $15 million plus.

  7. Francisco (FC) - Jul 24, 2012 at 2:06 PM

    This is the kind of baseball decisions Ruben is taking flak for. Remember 2009 when he traded Lee to Seattle? Then by Mid-July 2010 he started looking for another starter. And after that season he went on and signed Lee to a mega-deal anyway. What was the point?

    I know Phillies fans used to joke that Houston was the Phillies AAA affiliate. But the flip side was that Philadelphia became Houston’s one team annual draft.

    Considering the roulette nature of the playoffs (about to get even more random with the 2nd wildcard) I’m less and less inclined to look at deals that sell the farm for rentals or short term gains favorably. It’s not that a GM shouldn’t add pieces that will complete your core to get the playoffs and win it all. But it has to be balanced with what you have. If you have excess pieces and trade chips fine and dandy, if you find yourself scraping the bottom of the barrel, don’t do it.

    Trade for Halladay, great. The farm was pretty well stocked and could afford it.

    Roy Oswalt Trade, Ok. If you hadn’t dealt Lee away you wouldn’t have to do that, plus what you got back with Lee doesn’t compare with what was given away with Oz.

    Hunter Pence Trade. If you were only inclined to keep him for a year or so, what was the point in giving away four very well regarded prospects for him? Might as well gotten Michael Bourne back for less and shifted Victorino to RF.

    • danaking - Jul 24, 2012 at 2:25 PM

      Good points. All of these moves may have made good sense taken out of context, but put together they imply the lack of a long-term plan. or, less politely, a high level of cluelessness.

    • cur68 - Jul 24, 2012 at 2:42 PM

      Good points indeed. “deals that sell the farm for rentals or short term gains”; the Dempster/Delgado deal fits this to a tee. Cubs miss out on a great return true, but no Brave fan should be crying over this one.

  8. stex52 - Jul 24, 2012 at 2:07 PM

    I voiced my opinion on this one last year after the trade. Official disclaimer: I am a fan of the way Pence plays his heart out. He was popular in Houston. But Phillie caught him with what looked suspiciously like career numbers last year. There was talk about him being MVP at the time. Not a reasonable assessment of his numbers spread out over a year. Right now his OPS+ is 111, so he’s not chopped liver. But he was never more than an average fielder with a somewhat above average arm. You can look at his stats and see that, or you can watch him in the field and see it. I looked at the stats in Bref today and was surprised to see he was having such a poor defensive year. I would expect that he may recover some numbers that are surprisingly low. But you are never talking about Michael Bourne out there.

    Pence, in my opinion, is a very solid player who can be a contributor to a good team. But he’s not going to carry a team with his talents. Maybe part of his problem is the fall-off of the whole team?

    • xmatt0926x - Jul 24, 2012 at 2:30 PM

      stex, I agree that he’s a very likeable player because of his desire to go all out and he is overall a good player whomay have some very good seasons mixed in. The problem with him is that he becomes harder to live with given the Phillies particular circumstances. If their payroll wasn’t so high maybe they can afford to overpay a little to lock up a guylike Pence for 5 or 6 years but with the situation they are in he’s just not worth a huge contract which willbe due at the end of next season. In the end maybe the prospects don’t pan out and we look at this deal in a better light down the road but as of now it just looks one sided. He appears tohave all the talent in the world but is very Victorino-like with his lack of baseball instinct.

      • stex52 - Jul 24, 2012 at 2:40 PM

        Xmatt,

        No argument. He will have a streak where he tears up everybody at the plate. Then that loop gets back into his swing and he just can’t resist the low-outside slider. And he can throw a guy out pretty well from the outfield – if he gets to the ball.

        Much as I like him, I would not even consider anything like 5 years – 15 MM$. Something like three years at 10-12MM$ is a much safer risk. And based on his WAR so far this year, that is still an overpay. But I wouldn’t be surprised if he has another hot streak before the year is out. He has proven in the past that he can adjust. I also think his defensive stats are worse than historical, so they may improve from here. He’s only 30.

  9. crali - Jul 24, 2012 at 2:13 PM

    Wow, good to know.

  10. CJ - Jul 24, 2012 at 2:26 PM

    I’m torn. If they can get value for him I’m ok with it. I know he can be frustrating, but they need a solid RH bat in the middle of the lineup. Moving Pence would reek of the Lee to Seattle deal. If they trade him away, we’ll be lamenting the loss of a RH bat in the middle of the lineup and overpay again to get something similar in here to fill the void. I lean toward keeping him, putting Brown in left, and figuring out center somehow after moving Victorino/letting him walk.

  11. thomas2727 - Jul 24, 2012 at 2:28 PM

    This makes me remember the Carlos Beltran Hunter Pence argument when they were both traded last summer.

  12. kevbarnett - Jul 24, 2012 at 2:28 PM

    Pence wasn’t brought here to carry a team. He was brought in to replace the power lost by Jayson Werth in RF. Pence is a very good 5/6 hole hitter and when he is expected to be the 4th best hitter on your team hes doing a fine job.

    As for trading him, if that means we resign Cole Hamels i’m all for it. My only concern is that the outfield now is increadibly weak. Dom Brown is a huge question mark, Shane Victorino is a FA, Mayberry Jr is not a starter.

    Who starts next year if Pence is traded and Victorino fleas during FA?

    • CJ - Jul 24, 2012 at 2:52 PM

      Bingo. Besides, Blanton and Victorino coming off the books should make up the difference in Hamels’ salary.

      • skerney - Jul 24, 2012 at 3:23 PM

        No it won’t you are not taking into account arbitration eligible players and built in raises.

      • Francisco (FC) - Jul 24, 2012 at 3:27 PM

        Don’t forget there are other players due raises, some of the money coming off the books will go to Cliff Lee for example.

      • bleedgreen - Jul 24, 2012 at 5:06 PM

        OK but who do you pay to replace Blanton and Victorino? It won’t be nearly as much money for Blanton, but I don’t believe Victorino makes a whole lot.

      • CJ - Jul 24, 2012 at 5:45 PM

        Fair points, but you have to think the Phils accounted for the likelyhood that they’ll still have Pence when they offered Hamels the extensions, so they’ve accounted for it already.

        IIRC, Victorino makes ~8 mil.

  13. phgreg - Jul 24, 2012 at 2:31 PM

    Yeah,
    lets see Amaro’s plan
    get rid of the guy who leads your team in hits,hr, bb, and rbi’s (Pence)
    loose your number 1 starter (Hamels)
    A guy who has one less win than Halladay, Lee, and Worley combined (Blanton)
    And keep a manager who can’t manage his way out of a paper bag!

  14. schmedley69 - Jul 24, 2012 at 2:43 PM

    “Forrest” Pence is a decent player, but like his predecessor Jayson Werth, he’s not a guy who can carry a team. He’s not worth super star money, and I think the Phillies realize this. The Pence trade will more than likely haunt the Phillies for years.

  15. psubeerman21 - Jul 24, 2012 at 3:16 PM

    It’s not about his play or his numbers, it’s about his salary. He will make around 13-15 million in arbitration next year, and then what? Are you going to give him a 5 year deal in the range of 90 million at the age of 30? Probably not, especially for a team looking to get younger. You will get the most value for him now, as the team that gets him has him under control one more year. Let’s face it, hard decisions have to be made with a lot of players on this team, and if it has to be Hunter that goes, so be it.

  16. greymares - Jul 24, 2012 at 3:50 PM

    I have no idea what they will do with Pence but Dom Brown will never be part of the Philly outfield. I have watched Brown up close and personnal with the AAA Iron Pigs and he is not now and will never be a Phillie starter he is about the 5th best outfielder with the Pigs and a very poor hitter in the clutch.

  17. donaldduckmg42 - Jul 24, 2012 at 4:25 PM

    His shoddy defense is actually a bit unexpected. He had a hell of an arm back in Houston. In fact, between 08 thru ’10, Hunter Pence led MLB in outfield assists. But this year, he’s dropping fly balls. Elementary stuff.

    Astros fan since 1996

  18. fdiddy - Jul 24, 2012 at 11:31 PM

    Love his spirit and hot streaks at the plate but his fielding makes Pat Burrell look like the second coming of Gary Maddox. He is not worth 13 million. His fielding was easier to hide in Houston but its really not good. Great arm but he can’t judge a fly ball when the game is on the line. Let him go to the highest bidder and get something back.

  19. jkaflagg - Jul 24, 2012 at 11:33 PM

    Watched him from his days in Houston, and agree that he’s perhaps not quite as good as a couple of All Star nods might suggest…..On the other hand, he helped the team reach the playoffs last year and seemed to be the only guy other than Carlos Ruiz to show up and play everyday this year….Just last week he drove in the go-ahead runs in 2 consecutive games in LA, although the bullpen gave one of them back.
    Yeah, he’s not a great player, but I’d be careful if you think Dominic Brown, who so far is strictly a looks-Tarzan-plays-like-Jane type, is a sure bet to replace him…..

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