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MLB Trade Rumors: Could Hunter Pence Be on the Move?

BALTIMORE, MD - JUNE 9:  Hunter Pence #3 of the Philadelphia Phillies looks on during batting practice of a interleague baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles on June 9, 2012 at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
Mitchell Layton/Getty Images
Zak SchmollAnalyst IJuly 12, 2012

Many people assume that the Philadelphia Phillies are going to start selling off their players relatively soon. Shane Victorino has almost always been mentioned as probably one of the first to go given the fact that he is going to be a free agent at the end of the season.

However, Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer poses an interesting question: Should the Phillies be more willing to trade Victorino or Hunter Pence?

On one hand, trading Pence makes more sense. Gelb notes that Pence only has one more year of arbitration before he will demand a huge raise.

He has been having a solid year with a .285 batting average, 16 home runs and 50 RBI. Given the Philadelphia Phillies' offensive struggles all year, it would be difficult to trade away one offensive piece that is actually working.

He has had defensive struggles this season, but he has been a solid fielder throughout his career, so hopefully this year is just a fluke.

Victorino will receive his raise this winter, but given his difficult season and a huge outfield free-agent class, he could easily become much more affordable.

He is hitting .245 with eight home runs, 37 RBI and 19 stolen bases. Obviously his speed is all right, but because of his low average, he hasn't been able to utilize it enough.

There are also the intangibles. I'm not saying that Hunter Pence is not a leader, but when it comes down to it, we all know that the Flyin' Hawaiian is one of the main emotional leaders in the clubhouse. Losing him would make a big impact on the team dynamic.

However, at the same time, any type of sale involving Pence, Victorino or even Cole Hamels would damage team morale. The Phillies are obviously a determined team, and they want to play this out until the end.

The Phillies have not been in this type of situation for a few years, and it is going to be a difficult decision for Ruben Amaro Jr. Is he willing to risk damaging the team dynamic this season by admitting defeat? He has 19 days until the trade deadline to make up his mind.

 

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