Jul 212011
Astros OF Hunter Pence

Could the Phillies deal Vance Worley for Hunter Pence?

The latest Phillies trade rumor is so far the most exciting.  That’s because it’s not about older rental player Carlos Beltran, or the decent but not special Melky Cabrera — it’s Houston Astros outfielder Hunter Pence.

Now, Pence has been a trade rumor discussion topic for a while now, but it never really had any legs and was til now more of a pipe dream and message board fodder than anything else.

But it’s now about to get real, with ESPN’s Buster Olney tweeting today that the Phillies are interested in making an offer for Pence.  The centerpiece of the deal?  Rookie right hander Vance Worley.

Worley is of course the new darling of the Phillies ace-filled rotation, putting up an ERA of 2.02 in 12 total games this season, including 10 starts.  He’s pitching out of his mind right now.

And that’s why he needs to be dealt ASAP.

The Phillies strength is their starting pitching.  And while no one wants to see Kyle Kendrick pitching regularly unless absolutely necessary, having Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, and Cole Hamels at the top can kind of makes up for it.  Not to mention the steady if unspectacular Joe Blanton due back at some point, and the even better news that Roy Oswalt feels great and could be back as well, it’s a great time to move Worley before he comes down to earth.  Which he will.

What the Phillies need right now isn’t more pitching, it’s a competent bat.  Specifically, they need a corner outfielder who hits right handed and who can consistently fill the five hole in the batting order.  So while Domonic Brown is picking things up lately he’s still basically a rookie, and Raul Ibanez doesn’t cut it.  Ben Francisco is a 4th outfielder at best, same with John Maybery Jr.

Enter Hunter Pence.

At 28, Pence is in his prime.  He’s already made two All-Star teams.  So far this season he’s hitting .316 with 24 doubles, 11 homers, 61 RBIs, and a fantastic OPS of .845.  And he’s right handed.  So yeah, problem solved.

Pence is also under team control after this season, and while he’s going to make extremely good money in arbitration that can’t be seen as a huge issue right now when the Phillies are trying to win right now.

So a deal could center around a major league ready pitcher in Worley and maybe slugging prospect Jonathan Singleton, who is blocked at first base by Ryan Howard.  Throw in another quality but low-level arm like a Trevor May or even Jarred Cosart (one, not both) and the Astros and Ed Wade may just bite.

That sound you hear is the printing press gearing up for the fall ticket demand.

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