The Astros finalized a deal Friday night sending all-star outfielder Hunter Pence to the Phillies, along with $1 million in cash, for RHP Jarred Cosart, 1B/OF Jonathan Singleton, and two players to be named later. One of the PTBNLs turned out to be Josh Zeid, a reliever from Double-A Reading, while the other isn’t considered to be a major prospect per Ken Rosenthal, who broke the story.
The Astros didn’t have to deal Pence right now since he is under team control for two more years. However, his value has never been greater, since he can impact three playoff races. Most available players are half-year rentals or are under contract or control for one more season. Pence was also about to get fairly expensive for the Astros, who, as a rebuilding team did not need to carry a $12-15 mm player that didn’t help accomplish their goals. Pence might have been the face of the Astros franchise, but that was more indicative of the status of the organization than anything specific to his set of skills.
Though he isn’t truly a differencemaker, or an offensive savior for any interested team, the perception of his abilities around the league likely exceeds his actual production. Combine these ideas and the Astros should have been able to extract a great return for a good, not great, player. In getting Cosart and Singleton, they took on some risk (Cosart’s durability, Singleton’s lack of position), but there is a very good chance that they acquired a package equally as good as the return on Roy Halladay.