Only eight more days until the July 31st trade deadline. Right now the Phillies are 14.0 GB in the National League East and 10.0 GB for the second wild card spot. With 66 games remaining in the regular season, the Phils' chances of making the playoffs are slim to none. With reports speculating that Ruben Amaro Jr. is looking for trade options for some of his players, it only makes one wonder whether or not this team will be stripped of all its good parts or attempt to make one last miraculous victory run. That being said, I believe that the Phillies are going to shop some of their big names within the future. Today I will break down one of the trade chips the Phillies have to offer, possible suitors for him, as well as pieces the team could get in return.
Hunter Pence to me is the most intriguing trade piece the Phillies have not named Cole Hamels. Pence is just 29 years young. When the Phillies traded for Pence last year, they thought that he was the final piece to the puzzle that would help them replace Jayson Werth and help them get back to the World Series. That surely did not happen. But, Pence did give the Phillies the production out of right field that they were looking for. Once Pence was inserted into the five spot in the order, he started seeing better pitching to hit. In his 54 games with Philadelphia, Pence saw his numbers almost replicate what he did in 100 games for the Houston Astros. He batted .324, had 67 hits, 11 HR, and 35 RBI. Pence showed that he can be a great complimentary piece for a team with offensive threats in front of him as well as behind him. Pence is having a productive season for the Phillies especially when Chase Utley and Ryan Howard were gone. Now that they are back, Pence is beginning to see better pitches to hit, which could increase his trade value.
For me, I feel that Hunter Pence could be targeted by the Pirates as well as the Detroit Tigers. The Pirates are in desperate need of a power bat who can play the outfield. The production for their right field position has not been good. Then again, despite Andrew McCutchen, the Pirates offensive production is nothing to brag about. The Pirates have a few names that could interest the Phillies, especially since the Pirates have been linked to not only Hunter Pence but also Shane Victorino. If the Phillies are going to revamp their minor league system and rebuild for the future, the Pirates are a good team to get prospects from. Some names that I think could help the Phillies in the future are Starling Marte, Gerrit Cole, Josh Bell, and Colton Cain.
Marte is an outfielder with a lot of upside. At 23 years old, he is ranked #31 in the top 100 prospects in all of baseball. He has been able to hit for average, that was never a problem, according to the MLB Prospect Watch, but looking at his stats, his power numbers are starting to develop and the Phillies could get their hands on a future star in centerfield.
Cole, who is 21 years of age, is the #8 prospect in all of baseball. Would the Pirates want to ship out their 2011 draft pick for a possible rental?
Bell is a switch-hitting outfielder who can deliver some pop if he landed with the right hitting coach. This kid is only 19 years old and he is ranked #57 on the top 100 list.
Cain is a lefty who could throw some heat. He throws in the low to mid 90's right now and he is only 21. He began to develop his curveball and changeup a lot more, according to MLB.com. This could help him get to the major league level soon.
All in all, the Phillies have some big questions that they need to ask themselves regarding the future of their organization. If they want to rebuild, they might want to look and see what Pittsburgh has to offer them.
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