We are almost at the trade deadline, and the Pittsburgh Pirates are still in a tie for first place in the National League Central.
Let that soak in for a little bit, Pirates fans.
Now that Pittsburgh has finally turned the ship around and have played good baseball, the fans want more. They want an impact player at the deadline to help deliver a division title to the franchise. They want that shiny new toy that they can show off to everyone.
Many have asked for Carlos Beltran, Josh Willingham, Chris Iannetta, and Aramis Ramirez. Beltran and Ramirez are obviously the sexier choices, and they would make the Pirates better for the rest of the season.
But what about the future? The Pirates want to win now and for years to come, right?
Enter Hunter Pence.
Pence has been the newest shiny object that fans are salivating over. He's young, talented, and he's under contract for two more years. What more could you ask for? An outfield of Andrew McCutchen, Jose Tabata, and Hunter Pence would be one of the best in the entire league.
Would three years of Hunter Pence be worth giving up some of Pittsburgh's best young prospects?
Ed Wade, the general manager of the Houston Astro's, is fighting for his job at the moment. With a new owner coming in, Wade needs to make some deals that will allow him to retain his position in the front office. He needs to get a lot of young talent, and he has to do it now.
Hunter Pence is the Astro's best player and has the best trade value. Houston would except nothing less than a king's ransom for their star. If the Pirates wanted to steal away Pence from their division foe, they would more than likely have to give up some players such as Jameson Taillon, Stetson Allie, or Starling Marte. All three of these guys could be stars in the league.
So once again I ask: is three years of Pence worth these guys?
I'd say no. Do not expect Hunter Pence to be in a Pirate's uniform this season. He's a great player, and I would love to see him at PNC Park, but the price tag is too high.
Fans may not like this opinion. After nearly two decades of losing, they want it all. However, it is just not plausible that Neil Huntington will abandon his long term plan of creating a championship caliber team for many years.
Be patient, Pittsburgh. The Pirates are still first in the division and could very possibly end up in the playoffs. They don't need to blow up the future for a better chance to win right this second.
They're close. Just give the Pirates a little more time to put things together.