“Philadelphia Freedom” has new meaning for Hunter Pence. Last night Sports Illustrated’s Jon Heyman confirmed the 28 year old right fielder is moving from the last place Astros to the first place Phillies.
Philadelphia’s offense has been mediocre this year after scoring the second most runs in the senior circuit last season. Pence, a two-time all-star (.309 average, 11 home runs, 62 RBI) should improve that as he replaces top prospect Domonic Brown (.247 average, .338 OPB in 53 games). Heyman tweeted that Brown will return to the minors so he can get more playing time.
Pence had been Phillies General Manager Ruben Amaro’s top target heading into the deadline. The team also had talks with the rival Mets about Carlos Beltran (who’s trade to the Giants I analyzed earlier this week) but they preferred Pence because he’s younger and won’t reach free agency until after the 2013 season.
In exchange for Pence Houston is getting prospects Jonathan Singleton and Jarred Cosart and two players to be named later. Singleton is Single-A a first basemen and was rated the 39th best prospect in baseball entering the season. Cosart is a pitcher and also in Single-A, and was the 70th best prospect entering the season. Both players figure to be at least two years away from the majors but will improve a maligned Astros farm system.
One name not included in the deal was the aforementioned Brown, the number four prospect in all of baseball entering the season. Philadelphia refused to include the 23 year old in any deal, and he’ll be under their control until 2016 at the earliest. The Phillies outfield of the future featuring Brown, Pence and 31 year old Shane Victorino, could be among the best in all of baseball.