Houston most likely spot for Pence
The closer we get to Sunday’s Trade Deadline, the more likely it appears that Astros All-Star outfielder Hunter Pence will remain in Houston.
Peter Gammons of MLB.com reported earlier this week that word spread around the general managers’ world on Monday that Pence was essentially off the market, and an industry insider believes he will stay with the Astros. If the Astros were to make a deal at this point, left-hander Wandy Rodriguez appears the most likely candidate.
The Braves and Phillies have reportedly shown interest in Pence, but he would come with a high price tag considering he’s the Astros best and most popular player. And he’s under club control for two more years after 2011.
The Astros are positioning themselves to unload some payroll, and Rodriguez is owed the remainder of his $7 million salary this year, $10 million next year and $13 million in 2013. He has an option for 2014 with $13 million, with a $2.5 million buyout.
It’s unknown if the Astros would be prepared to take on some of that money to get a deal done. Houston is still paying $10 million of Roy Oswalt’s contract this year.
— Brian McTaggart