MLB Arizona Diamondbacks

Philadelphia Phillies Eagerly Looking to Move Hunter Pence

Hunter Pence hasn’t gotten quite the trade deadline hype of Cole Hamels or Shane Victorino but reports say that the Philadelphia Phillies are eagerly looking to move outfielder Hunter Pence.

Pence was acquired a year ago in a trade that saw the Phillies finally acquire a right-handed power bat in exchange for to prospects Jonathan Singleton and Jarred Cosart, along with two other minor league players. Pence hit .324 with 11 home runs and 35 RBIs in 54 games down the stretch for the Phillies, helping the team win a franchise-record 102 games and a fifth straight NL East division title.

Pence is hitting .268 with 17 home runs and 57 RBIs this year, and he ranks ninth in the National League with 59 runs scored. His numbers are down across the board from last year (his .453 slugging percentage is 50 points less and his .789 OPS is nearly 90 points lower than 2011), but he is still an excellent trade option for a team in the market for a quality bat like Pence.

He is still under team control through 2013, which means a team can trade for him and still have him for all of next year in addition to the remaining two months for 2012. Pence isn’t too good defensively in right field, as he routinely ranks among the league leaders in errors at his position, but he also has a strong arm, having led the league in outfield assists three times (and ’12 would be his fourth time).

The Pittsburgh Pirates have to been seen as strong contenders for Pence, as they’re actually in contention this year and Jose Tabata has been far subpar in right field. The Washington Nationals could use a strong right fielder, as could the Cleveland Indians and Baltimore Orioles.

Pence is making $6.9 million in arbitration this season and he will probably command a figure around $12-13 million for the 2013 campaign. Personally, I don’t see any reason for the Phillies to trade him away now, although if the team is mired in last place or out of the playoff race at this time next year as Pence is getting ready to hit free agency, they should definitely trade him.