Friday, July 29, 2011

Phillies get Pence

The Phillies and Astros have agreed on a deal that sends outfielder Hunter Pence to Philadelphia.

In return, the Astros netted minor leaguers Jonathan Singleton, Jarred Cosart and Josh Zeid along with a player to be named later.

The Phillies, who also received cash in the transaction, have been lacking in production from the right side of the plate since losing Jayson Werth to free agency in the offseason.

Pence is batting .308 this season with 11 home runs and 62 RBI, which led the Astros in each category. He started Friday's game against the Brewers before being pulled in the fifth inning.

"We tried to address a need we felt was a missing piece. We believe in our offense as it stands, but it's been a little inconsistent," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "It gives us a little more balance ... It gives us someone who is extremely well-rounded."

Viewed as a cornerstone for a rebuilding Astros club that entered Friday a major league-worst 35-70, the 28-year-old Pence is headed to a team that has made the playoffs each of the past four seasons and sits atop the National League East.
Pence, a two-time All-Star, has hit 103 home runs during his five-year career, though the .290 lifetime hitter strikes out roughly three times for every walk (519-194) and has been caught stealing more than once every three attempts (36-97).
Expected to play right field, Pence will likely take the starting spot of the slowly-progressing Domonic Brown, who was rumored to be on the trading block over the past few weeks.

"It's a win-win for both teams. I'm going to a first-place team, but they're getting four good players back," Pence said after the Astros were blanked by the Brewers, 4-0. "I'm pretty lucky to be going right into the middle of a pennant race."
The Astros and Phillies also completed a trade-deadline deal last year, as Roy Oswalt was sent to Philly in exchange for a pair of prospects and pitcher J.A. Happ, who has gone 4-12 with a 6.12 earned run average in his first full season in Houston.

This time, the Astros acquired Single-A players in Singleton, a 19-year-old outfielder who is hitting .282 in Clearwater, and Cosart, a 21-year-old righty who has compiled a 9-8 record with a 3.92 ERA this season.

Zeid, 25, was 2-3 with two saves and a 5.65 ERA at Double-A Reading.

To fill their open roster spot, the Astros purchased the contract of outfielder J.D. Martinez from Double-A Corpus Christi.

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